KU-SDSU: Three Reasons We Lost

  • This is not hard. This is not complicated. We were beaten by SDSU because of three main reasons – but one (three point shooting) will continue to haunt us if adjustments aren’t made:

    1. We were thrashed on the boards:

    SDSU hammered us on the boards, and continually outworked us for the ball. Some of the boards were the luck of the bounce. But mainly, we didn’t get butts on guys and they got to the hoop and capitalized. How many follow dunks did they have? This is in part an effort issue, but it’s also an issue of fundamentals and positioning on the court. Traylor has made strides, but he gets 3 rebounds in 18 minutes? Black has the same rate – 1 in 6 minutes. And Ellis gets 5 in 22 minutes? I don’t know. Lucas just must be a significantly inferior player in Self’s eyes. But he sure got after it when he was in, and when he’s been in this season, he looks like a superior rebounder to both Traylor or Black. Lucas is at .325 rebounds per minute, Black and Traylor at .266 and .226 respectively. Black’s average is higher than his career average. Traylor is about the same as last season. Interesting, Josh Davis, a senior transfer (like Black) from Tulane pulled down 14 boards in 31 minutes for SDSU.

    2. We were out-coached.

    Fisher had the strategy of doubling our post players and Self did not have an answer. What was our response? To dribble away from the double, to attempt cross court passes, and most importantly, to play passive rather than aggressive.

    Let me ask you this: Did you see any perimeter players cutting to the basket when our post players were doubled? There was one time when Ellis hit Mason in the middle of the lane for a hoop off of a double. This wasn’t a cut, though. Mason was just there. The entire game there were no cutters to the basket. This is how you make them pay. They double, and your post player can shoot a pass to a cutter from the perimeter for an easy basket.

    This is basketball 101.

    Another thing that we did a few times was that we pivoted away from the double teams. What do you do if the offensive player pivots away? You close out and tight the trap.

    But what we did, mainly, was play scared and non-aggressive. We routinely dribbled out of the double team, away from the hoop. Ellis and Embiid thus were rendered quite ineffective as they retreated. Ellis went 1-9. Embiid shot the ball a whopping 5 times. Embiid was provoked into a couple of turnovers throwing it across the court. I believe Ellis fumbled the ball away once on a trap.

    What else would you expect off the double in the post? A pass to a shooter for a step in three. No dice there, either.

    Fisher doubling the post was a main contributor to our poor two point shooting percentage. Not the only reason, but a main contributor.

    Score that one to coach Fisher by a knockout.

    3. We have no three-point shooting in the rotation.

    Next, again, beating the dead horse, we have zero three point shooting. This time 4 for 16. Our three starting perimeter players were 2 of 11 from three. Good three point shooting can cure a lot of ills, including being out-rebounded and getting out-coached, or being out-played in another phase of the game.

    After the Toledo game, I noted that our performance there was the exact recipe for a tourney upset. All that bailed us out was Tharpe’s 4 for 5 three point shooting effort. I asked what would have happened if Tharpe would have gone 1 for 5 that game instead?

    There’s your answer – Tharpe went 1 for 5 from three vs. SDSU. Of course, much different type of ballgame. This was a bar fight. Toledo was more up and down the court. Both recipes for losses. Why? The lack of three point shooting. Against Toledo, remove Tharpe’s 4-5 from three and we were still just 3 for 9, and one of those was from non-perimeter player Perry Ellis – so our perimeter guys were 2 of 8.

    Our problem here is so blatantly obvious. We need three point shooting to bail this young team out when other things don’t go well. That is the main point. But our options behind the arc are limited to average at best three point shooters.

    Self now has constricted his rotation to 4 perimeter players. And none of the 4 perimeter players is an elite three point shooter. You need three point shooting to boost you to victory in games like today, when you get out-coached or out-played in an important phase of the game (which was in the post vs. SDSU). Or when you lose the battle of the boards like we did.

    Oh, but coach Self did give us a token look – the flavor of the day was Andrew White. Predictably, he missed a three. Predictably, he gets three minutes. Predictably, he never sees the floor again. I’m tired of predicting. Would it have made sense to use, say, Brannen Greene against SDSU’s length? Of course it would have. Of course, he doesn’t play.

    The bigger concern going forward is the drum I’ve been beating for a while – we lack three point shooting in the rotation. Who is the elite shooter? Self has refused to choose either Frankamp, Greene, or White, as he admitted was best for the team, and he has refused to play one of them regularly. Coach Self is neglecting the use and development of not only a plentiful asset on this team, but an absolutely necessary asset.

    Shooters need comfort and confidence, and they need to be able to get in the flow of the game. Much different than a post player. They need to feel they can shoot without looking over their shoulders. Their “head” is as important as their stroke. Shooting is a difficult craft. When your head is not right as a shooter, and you lack comfort and/or confidence, your chances of success go way down. For our shooters to help, they have to play regularly – whether it’s one of them, or more. And that will require a major adjustment by Self. That’s the bottom line.

    Self may be an excellent coach, but right now, he is mismanaging this particular asset. This mismanagement, if it continues, will significantly decrease the chances of KU winning a national title. And that, my friends, is all that matters.

  • @HighEliteMajor great points! Something must be going on w/Greene. Hard to figure when we are not at practice. I really wish we could get Lucas in sooner, at least prove me wrong! He’s so fundamentally sound and strong. Self said something about Ellis not feeling well. Really bummed, but disappointed in our fan base not being supportive. Read the posts during game on KU sports.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 @HighEliteMajor

    Ok, if there’s something going on with Greene, is there also something going on with White and CF? It’s becoming a tired issue. Self is severely handicapping this team by ignoring this rather glaring deficiency. He was willing to let his starters make bad shot selections all game, but doesn’t even give the three best shooters on out team a chance? It makes watching KU’s struggles really difficult.

  • @HighEliteMajor-Sometimes I feel like we’re continually beating a dead horse. I’ve been saying for months, as have others, that the cutters have to fill the lanes when we’re doubled or when the def collapses on the penetrators. Defenses do not respect our shooters & why should they? No Frankamp, no AW III, no Greene, no outside shooters that demand respect for the kickout. Selden is not getting it done at the 2 spot & we have the guys on the bench that, in my opinion, should be getting many of his minutes. Surely Bill will try some diff combos-can it hurt that much? We’re clearly failing with what he’s been trying so far. And it’s time Lucas got some pt also, even if it costs PE some minutes, let’s see if he can rebound, or at the minimum, just simply block someone out. Hey, if it’s broke you have to try to fix it. If they worked on def all week, then maybe a little, or a BIG week of offensive medleys should be next up for these guys. They’re just getting hammered by the big boys on the glass, & if they still underachieve like this in conf, the losses won’t be nearly as close as this one to SDSU.

  • @MoonwalkMafia wish I knew what was going on w/those 3 guys. Greene was getting some time, then White was hurt, and not much at all from CF. Really thought Greene was the guy that could help us out.

  • When can players transfer, before 2nd semester begins?

  • We need not be so fast to criticize Coach Self. None of us attend practice, none of us is aware of what happens behind closed doors, none of us know if any of the players have health or off the court issues; in fact, we pretty much know very little of what transpires with teams until the coaching staff deems necessary to disclose the information.

    Coach Self has won more games than all of us could dream of winning combined. He has won with all types of players at 4 different schools, so he probably forgotten more about basketball than we all combined know, as Coach Bobby Knight would say. I am sure that Coach Self and the coaching staff go over the game plans and scouting report with a fine tooth comb and design a game plan, that depends on players executing it; he has done this hundreds of times and he has been very successful at producing wins. Why is it that we think that suddenly he has forgotten how to coach and feel like we need to tell him what to do? I am sure that he wants to win more than we do and every loss is a lot more painful to him than it is to us.

    The main problem with this team appears to be that as soon as things don’t go the way they planned, the they do not stick to the game plan and start to revert to their high school way of playing where they all were ubber-successful, of course the competition was not Mac Donald all-Americans but kids that worked at Mac Donald.

    In a way it reminds me of a bowling class I took in College (yes, a PE class was required). I had played bowling on and off like most people and I could consistently score around 100. After the instructor taught me the proper technique, at first I could not score over 50 and I would try to return to the old ways where I was a lot more successful. The instructor insisted that I stick with the proper technique and by the end of the semester I had an average close to 200. Lesson learned.

    Again, the new players are being asked to play a style different than the one they played in High School, where they were all the stars of their teams, and in most cases the starts of the conference, state or even the entire country. Coach Self system starts with defense, which for most of them is counterintuitive to what they know, and they have yet to embrace the system. In time they will come around and the level of play will go up dramatically. When you think of the '08 Championship team that played like a finely tuned German car, think of how rough they were a couple of years earlier before the co-opted Coach Self’s system.

    The one weakness I have noticed on this team that past teams did not have is that they do not have a sense of urgency, probably the result of the inflated opinion they have of their collective talent and the belief that talent alone can overcome the lack of 100% effort. Kentucky was much the same last year and ended up losing to Bobby MO in the NIT; maybe Coach Self could show them the tape of that game and hopefully ring a gigantic wake up call or else we might be asking Mr. Zenger to black out more games.

    Again, this is my personal opinion and it is not meant to antagonize or criticize other posters. I am sure others look at the situation differently, and I respect that and then, as the reasonable adults we are, we just agree to disagree.

  • Hello everybody. Happy Healthy New Year. Missed all the intellectual & analytical basketball minds.

    HEM - thanks for the insight, and agree with you. What bothers me the most is that Self got outcoached - that simple. Watched first 8 mins of the game, and turned it off - had a gut feeling we will lose after reading about SDSU - and following the Chiefs debacle. This game reminded me of Florida when our players couldn’t find their butt with their two hands under doubled and pressed.

    I am wondering (and hoping) if Self is holding back for the conference games. Oh I sure hope and pray he is!!! HEM is right about the short leash - can’t expect these frosh to turn it on & off when basketball blood from their heads haven’t ran through their cold feet sitting on the bench & their new game shoes haven’t broken into yet. I so hope Self is sandbagging otherwise I can’t be watching - too stressful.

  • HEM said: “This mismanagement, if it continues, will significantly decrease the chances of KU winning a national title. And that, my friends, is all that matters.”

    In that case nothing matters, because we are not going to win that title.

    Big 12 title #10 is still on the table: that’s it. If we fall out of the Big 12 race, then start rebuilding: play next year’s players.

  • @HighEliteMajor Boards. Yes. Trey shooting needed. Yes. Out coached? At first I thought yes, but now I think no.

    SDSU was a very good team: long and athletic; tough as nails, mature, seasoned, with an accomplished PG, a style of play our guys had never seen, and an experienced coach out to prove something. Not the most hyped talent on the floor but the most pieces fitted together the best playing hardest and toughest. SDSU was KU the last three seasons.

    KU? This was the kind of team many have dreamed of: hyped freshmen playing lot of minutes to get them ready for a title in March. Alas, this green team has some big holes. It has short, low ranked talent at PG, an ingredient for no ring, or conference title. It has a power forward with no power. It has perhaps the most wildly overrated star since Alpha Centauri. It has a slow footed two guard physically ideal for a kind of physical play that is no longer allowed. It has a wildly athletic, inexperienced center that tries hard and makes athletic plays but often has no feel for how the game is actually played. It has not one natural born rebounder, just a lot of “long cats.” it has a transfer center playing like a transfer center. It has short project big playing like a short project big. It has not one experienced, well rounded glue guy with a 40% trey. It has three wing shooters without much experience that are not getting much PT in close games, because they don’t do much positive and do some harm. In short it lacks everything that previous tough Self teams have had except Self, and top quant Joe Dooley, and Self has tried to be a kinder, gentler one week of Boot Camp kind of Self.

    Men beat boys yesterday–scared boys with men laughing at them, punking them, the first half. Experienced hard noses that were longer, tougher, and more athletic at the 1, 2, and 3 than the boys. Embiid didn’t have enough savvy and Perry didn’t have enough size and strength and meanness to exploit the doubles and overplays by SDSU. KU’s perimeter players didn’t have the toughness and moxie, to go inside and help on the glass.

    Self threw them in the deep water yesterday and said go find a way to win with a sound strategy, but no tactical wrinkles–without any coaching tricks. He does this every pre season sooner or later with experienced teams and it works. It failed with the saplings. Maybe a misjudgment by Self, but he apparently thought the team needed a reality check on want to and resourcefulness.

    Some key things to register about the game:

    They fought hard the second half;

    They never figured out how to box out and go get the reeb against L&As experienced at holding and hooking;

    They predictably shot poorly (after 56% trifectation the previous game);

    Their leading scorer, Perry, was hopelessly overmatched;

    Their superstar three froze having never played against guys that could shut him down;

    They lost their composure frequently; and yet

    They still almost won it.

    By winning the Disruption Stat!

    For the first time this season I believe their disruption stat went >1 and was better than the opponent’s.

    The reason Self did not give major minutes to either Greene, nor AW3, as matchups and bad trey shooting otherwise dictated, was that Self decided the teams best chance to find a way to win was to wear the opponent down, get their bigs fouled up, with substitution in the front court, Embiid shot blocks, miscellaneous strips, and low TOs. Greene or White risked higher TOs without higher strips. They sat in order to try to win the disruption stat. It worked. This and playing from behind also dictated little or no zone.

    What did not work was: all the focus on guarding and disruption, made the saplings NOT focus on boarding. Self seemed almost to have conceded rebounding to SDSU. Had he wanted to win the rebounding war, he would have zoned more. He won’t concede it again. This week will be endless rebounding drills.

    In short, I believe Self is plenty smart enough to know the team could have won with either better trey shooting (playing Greene/White/Frankamp more), or winning the disruption stat. But he did not think the team could do both. So: he opted for trying to win the disruption stat. He must have thought his players woul not get so intimidated they would shoot in the 20s% inside though.

    KU guarded much better yesterday. SDSU shot only 37%. KU disrupted and protected much better. It went >1 on the disruption stat and kept SDSU <1.

    But it is true that guarding and disrupting can take one’s focus off boarding and it in fact did.

    Bad as it looked (and it looked really bad the first half and not pretty the second half) the team is still moving in the right direction in learning to play through the bigs and winning the disruption stat. Recovering rebounding comes next. Greene/white/Frankamp and trey shooting will get sorted during First half of conference play.

    Remember: Self said early the longer season was what he was trying to gear around and build for. Everything he is doing suggests he is sticking to the plan. Other teams are achieving mid season form now, while Self is gearing for a month from now. There are lumps to take now. But Self is building to peak when most teams are starting to get stale in late January. It’s a gutsy move, but then Self is playing for rings now and not winning percentage.

    I was as chapped as you, at first, but with a night’s sleep this how it looks to me now.

    Rock Chalk!

  • @jaybate : hard to say we won the disruption stat when most of their turnovers were unforced travels. We played some great d at the end of the game to wind up having two, sometimes what looked like three, guys going for the block only to leave their man (men) wide open for the easy put back.

    @highelitemajor : agree with all of your points. Like Self said, Nuh-deer made some bad decisions down the stretch. Can’t blame the ankle injury on shot selection.

    I understand going to the monitor in the last 2 minutes is the rule because “we want to get it right”, but why not use it to get it right the whole game. They don’t start using replay only in the last two minutes of football. Or just in the last inning of baseball. If you’re going to have a rule have it for the entire game, match.

  • Well, not the desired outcome for my first visit to Allen Fieldhouse but an amazing experience. A few take always;

    1. We got their way too early. But lucky my wife and I found an open door and got a lot of quiet time to walk around. Watched JoJo shoot around for 15 minutes from the court. We were able to look at all of the HOF stuff uninterrupted. After about and hour in we were asked to wait outside, just dumb out of towners oops.

    2). Something you don’t get to see on tv that I was surprised about… SDSU getting booed like crazy. Maybe I’m in the minority but I don’t see the point.

    3). As much as Wiggins may be over hyped, he does not get enough credit for his defense. Other than a few lapses he is a shut down defender who wants to guard the ball no matter what.

    4). Very frustrating to watch. You always worry when KU doesn’t break 70. I can’t count how many time a ball went half way down.

    5). On my way home listening to the post game was rough. I’m sure others heard it but Self spoke very bluntly about Greene and Frankamp. Self said something to the fact that they need to get them in to games but they were not ready for a game like tonight and it was evident in practice. Also I didn’t know Naadir had hurt his ankle so bad Wednesday and had not practiced since.

    Tough lose but amazing experience. I can’t wait to get a chance to go back! RCJH

  • I agree with the posts that we can’t shoot and that we can’t rebound and that we get out hustled but I don’t really agree that CS was out coached. We played great D against a tough veteran team and had our chances down the stretch to win the game. We missed a ton of open shots…again. It is an unfortunate trend and now the entire Big 12 has the blue print for how to make it difficult on our offense. I hope we can get it together and not have another 3 game losing streak like we did last year as this team may not be mature enough to recover.

  • @HighEliteMajor Just want to say… Dam dam dam dam dam dam & DAM!!! oh yah, and KU could not hit the side of a barn from 5 feet with a shotgun last night.

  • It is hard to remember mistakes in a win than in a loss. I think the real deal starts at OU. IMHO, I think HCBS used 2 games to sort out the PG issue and he got what he wanted with a committed PG and it is clear from then onward who is the leader on the floor for better or for worse.

    As D concepts take times to settled, many games were used to coach the talents to buy in the concepts; winning is then secondary to learning. Hopefully, HCBS has by now equipped the guys with the necessary tools to retain the Big 12 title and make a deep run in March. RCJH!

  • @HighEliteMajor One last last thing, HEM to add to your #3. The lack of 3pt shooting will greatly increase the chances of a round 1 upset. Just like 04 and 05

  • @CaptnMo If coach Self really said that Brannen Greene wasn’t ready for a game like this, he is being completely disingenuous. I didn’t hear it, so operating off your info here. We watched Greene play well in a much more difficult environment at Florida, and we watched him make key plays against Duke in Chicago on a big stage. Heck, Wayne Selden didn’t look ready for a game like this. Andrew Wiggins didn’t look ready for a game like this. Perry Ellis sure as heck didn’t, either.

    @jaybate, respectfully, I think you are making this a bit more complicated than it is. Before the game, you suggested that Tharpe and Mason, were too short to match up vs. SDSU. You mentioned specifically, in a pregame post, Greene or AW3 getting a lot more minutes as a result. Your logic, pregame, was right on point regarding Greene or White, and how they could have helped match up. (as an aside on the short guys, I think Mason did well on D, Tharpe did not).

    Your logic now is simply a hypothesis of why Self didn’t play either one - “Greene or White risked higher TOs without higher strips.” You noted what you are hypothesizing to be his strategy. From a stat standpoint, AW3 has few turnovers per minute played this season than Selden. Greene’s TO rate is a bit higher than Selden.

    And tell me, who has been more disruptive as a defensive player, Selden or Greene? Greene, when in, is aggressive, tips the ball away, and gets after it. Andrew White is significantly better rebounder than Selden, 20.2 per minute vs. 10.6 per minute. Plus, White showed that last year as well (23.2 per minute).

    But I think we’re making this more complicated than it is, and we don’t have to.

    Green, White, Frankamp – none of them are a cure all. Heck, Greene or White could have easily gone 1 of 5 from three yesterday.

    But what I am talking about is building a diverse attack that gives you the best chance to win in all circumstances. Right now, we have three perimeter players whose strength is driving to the hoop (Selden, Wiggins, Mason), and one who is an average three point shooter (Tharpe) that doesn’t have any stand out skill.

    We don’t have a player on the perimeter to provide the complimentary skill of nailing the three, and we’re doing nothing to ensure that we have one come March. That is very concerning to me. @lulufulu85 read my mind.

    And I think, most importantly, the trade off by playing say Greene or White 15-17 per game would not cause any reduction in our likelihood of winning games.

    We won the disruption stat. That is nice. But we lost by four at home.

    I am very confident that if this team had a distinct three point threat, it would open up more offensive opportunities across the board.

  • @HighEliteMajor I can’t agree more on #2 and this is becoming a small trend HEM. I think the other points can be addressed and corrected. This one is a mystery to me. Just when I think Self is getting outcoached, he usually redeems himself, somehow. I hope he redeems himself soon.

    We need more Greene, Greene, and more Greene. And, let him play through some mistakes and gain some confidence. Let him get a rhythm. Please, Coach Self, let Brannen Greene play and give him a Greene light.

  • As much as I love Selden, I really think he would be better off coming off the bench, and Greene or White starting at his spot or at least getting more minutes than him.

  • As one who is a fan and not a player, I have a question for some of you guys out there who are obviously former players. When you’re shooting ice cold, and can’t even buy a basket, how do you turn that around during a game? We obviously have some excellent shooters-sometimes we’ve shot over 60% during a half, and most games we shoot over 50%. But yesterday I kept thinking, “sooner or later we’ll get hot”, and of course, it never happened. Is that just a confidence issue, or what? Also, as badly as they played yesterday, I never felt like they quit. They were in it to the end, and barring a couple of bad calls, things could have ended differently. ( I don’t mean to say the calls were the reason they lost.) Lastly, I know ESPN has some lousy announcers, but nobody can compare to that idiot Gottleib! He may have said a couple of nice things about KU and Allen Fieldhouse, but his calling of the game was just terrible IMHO.

  • @HighEliteMajor I was as surprised to hear it as anyone. My wife and I both looked at each other amazed. Conner I can understand but he lumped Greene in the same statement.

    The kusports article makes reference to the statement but didn’t include the part that practice was proof they weren’t ready.

  • My thoughts…

    I think as KU fans, we’re spoiled. Our team plays in one of the best venues in all of sports. AFH is voted the loudest and most intimidating arena to play in every year. KU fans act as if it is impossible for an opponent to come in and beat us. We expect teams to come in, kiss the imperial seal and take their beating. A team like SDSU isn’t going to take that. They’re a very well-coached, fundamentally sound, and veteran team. To win at AFH is exactly what they need to show they’re a contender (if SDSU was any other team they would be in the top 5 going into this game, just sayin). The venue means nothing if you can’t rebound, can’t make free throws, and continuously settle for difficult jump shots. That much was clear last night.

    Second, Tharpe’s comments after the game were extremely telling. "On Monday, I’m going to ask the guys, ‘How much do we really care about what’s on the front of our jersey? How much do we care about winning (for Kansas)?’…I’ve been here a long time. Some of the guys ahead of me (on depth chart his first two years at KU) … tears came down dudes’ eyes when we lost.” You better believe it Naadir. Guys like Tyshawn, T-Rob, Releford, B-Mac, EJ, etc. were not going to let us lose. They had something this team is completely void of…HEART. They had a competitive edge. Guys like Wiggins don’t know what it means to play for a program like KU, and they don’t care because they’re gone in a few months. Maybe guys like Selden and Embiid may someday get it, but surely not right now. It’s so sad to watch something we all hold in such high regard neglected. What I saw last night was on par with what I see from my 4 year old niece at her soccer games. Following mistakes, heads down, energy deflated, DEFEAT. It was all the more infuriating watching Jamari do it as the clock ticked down with 1:45 to go and us still down by 4. This is the problem with having a team like this one. Perry and Naadir are our veterans, but they’re not seniors, and quite frankly it’s just not enough.

    I know it’s blasphemy to say something like this, but at this point, Coach Self is stubbornly stupid. Stupidity is the only way I can assess this following portion. Continuing to ignore our shooting deficiencies is about as stupid as it gets. Broadcasters keep saying we lack outside shooting. They just don’t realize our three best shooters don’t get any playing time. Selden continues to get playing time over Greene, White and Frankamp. Why? I’m sorry, but he’s not Releford, so please don’t give me the defense excuse. Greene makes mistakes? Ya, so does our entire team. The tradeoff in playing Selden over any of those three is just not good enough to continue doing so. Self is a big fan of asking reporters to look up stats in the history of AFH… I got one for ya Billy, yesterday was the worst shooting percentage for a KU team since they started keeping the freaking stat! How about that!?

    If Self continues to make this idiotic decision to stick with Selden over any of our shooters, not only will it cost us a chance at the national title, it will cost us a tenth straight Big 12 title, and if you want my honest opinion, possibly a trip to the tournament. Like the zone defense that led to some of our other losses, SDSU just gave everyone a blueprint for how to beat us. We had no answer for them double-teaming Embiid in the post. None. And since we can’t hit shots, SDSU was perfectly fine with letting us continue to throw up jump shots.

    This team thinks our Non-con was bad, just wait. Right now, there are probably four road games that seem un-winnable. Ames, Stillwater, Waco, and Manhattan. And I’m tempted to throw Austin in there right now. Those teams are playing with confidence, while ours has no fight and zero heart. And how can you tell me that teams have no chance of winning in the Fieldhouse right now? It can be done. We have many deficiencies, and opposing teams are showing everyone in the Big 12 how to beat us.

    And to make that debacle so much worse, was having to listen to that weaselly prick Doug “credit card scam” Gottlieb for two and a half hours. It was enough to put the TV on mute.

    At this point, things don’t look good. The sky may not be falling, but it’s looking pretty shaky right now.

  • Brannen Greene will be a good if not great basketball player, but any who are calling for his shooting now are forgetting how many points he gives up. He is constantly out of position on defense allowing the other team to score. It’s not always his man, but being out of position cause others to shift to help leaving their man open. He also pouts after bad plays instead of just reacting to correct the mistake.

    Wiggins and Selden need another year of college ball. Embiid could use another year of adjusting to the culture and learning the basics.

    Experience is what this team needs and is what they are getting. Will it be enough by tournament time?

    This team will be good in a year or two, but many of the current pieces will be gone. I hope the early defectors are still in the NBA by what could be their senior year in Lawrence.

  • @MoonwalkMafia If Bill is so stupid and this year is a loss, why not sit Wiggins and Embiid so that Lucas and Greene can develop? No sense in developing a player for the NBA at the expense of next years experience. Right?

    Personally I want to win now. I want success in this years tourney. Bill is giving the team the best chance to succeed. Just like last year with EJ playing over Tharpe. Does anyone think that Thapre would’ve been the better point guard last year after watching Naadir play this year?

    I don’t think this current group of players can beat ISU or OSU the way they are currently playing. But they are young and will mature as the season progresses. The most talented pieces need the most experience by March to give KU the best chance at a national title.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I agree with all of your points and would add one more very simple point.

    They played harder

    That’s it. Sometimes, basketball comes down to simply which team plays harder and tougher. Yesterday, for all 40 minutes, that team was San Diego State. They wanted that win badly and they played every single possession like that win meant everything. We did not.

    They attacked. We were attacked. They were on their toes. We were on our heels. We hoped something would go right. They made things happen.

    If you go back and watch the game, look at how many times SDSU got to the rim and dunked. We blocked more shots yesterday than they did (13-eight), but when we got around the rim, they altered just about everything because we DID NOT DUNK THE BASKETBALL. It’s almost as if this team believes they can only dunk on fast breaks. Sometimes you have to dunk in traffic just to let the other team know they can’t push you around. We got pushed around yesterday. Not so much physically, but mentally, emotionally and psychologically.

    They were the aggressors, and more often than not, the aggressor will win.

  • @oldhwkfan When you are struggling to shoot, two things have to happen.

    1. You have to get higher quality looks. Whether that means getting more open, or getting into the lane, you absolutely have to get higher quality opportunities.

    2. You have to increase your effort level. It kind of goes with #1, but you really have to work on both ends when you are struggling to shoot well. That means defending and trying to create some transition opportunities, pounding the offensive glass for second chance opportunities, hustling for every loose ball.

    You may not be able to always control whether the ball goes into the basket, but you can always control opportunities and effort.

  • @dylans I’m not saying Bill Self is stupid. I’m saying his insistence to ignore our deficiencies is stupid. Lucas will develop by virtue of the fact that he’ll be in Lawrence for another three and a half years. I’m saying that continuing to play Selden over Greene or White is an unfounded decision. We’re struggling to shoot the ball. It is something that Self has to address. What does benching Embiid or Wiggins have to do with anything?

  • @MoonwalkMafia Selden is out of position far less than Greene. Selden may disappear at times, but you always know where Greene, look for the out of position guy causing the rest of the defense to be out of position trying to cover (Wiggins has picked up some fouls because of Greene)Or he’s the guy making faces as he watches the defender streak down the court after he turns it over. Greene is the better shooter, but gives up more points than he could ever hope to create at this point. He will be a stud he’s just further removed than Selden from his potential greatness.

    I do think this team would benefit from a great three point shooter, but not if he gives up points at an alarming rate.

    As I stated earlier. Sounds like you have given up on the season. Why continue to develop NBA talent instead of next years players? Bench Wiggins and Embiid and develop the supporting class for Oubre and Alexander.

    Personally I want to see Bill to continue to develop the players that will give KU the best chance at a title this year. Let’s worry about next year in the off season.

  • @dylans I respectfully disagree. Actually, in watching Greene quite closely, I would describe his defense as highly adequate, if not pretty good at times. I’ve posted on this before. I’m not saying he is a good defender yet.

    Importantly – If his defense was that bad, how does he play 30 minutes in a two game stretch for coach Self? Heck, as the 5th perimeter player, that is amazing.

    I have not heard coach Self ever criticize his defense. I heard him compliment him on how hard he played. In the times Self has discussed Greene, I have never heard the defense issue come up.

    Further, my observations were that Greene over that two game stretch was clearly that he did stick with his man, was able to slide and provide help, was aggressive and active (poking the ball away a few times) without talking unnecessary risks, seemed to move well, and fought over screens. I didn’t see perfection … what I mean is, many of your criticisms could be laid at the feet of all of our defenders from time to time. We should not hold Greene, or any sub, at a higher standard.

    I think this defense thing is, with all due respect, a bit of a red herring. It’s a kind of up in the clouds, highly subjective catch all that we use sometimes to try to explain why a guy isn’t playing.

    I still think Selden should start – I think you keep developing him. I just think you can find 15-17 minutes per game from the 4 top perimeter guys to include Greene or White, without any real harm.

  • @HighEliteMajor You are right. The defense of all the players at times has been sub-par. Wiggins d is better than expected though.

    I don’t necessary feel Brannen’s D is atrocious, but he compounds his mistakes. He has made positive strides since the start of the season. However he needs to react with his feet, not his face while standing motionless.

    I’d like to see Greene spell Selden instead of Mason, but he is very inconsistent and at this point is a net negative. Once Greene stops looking like a freshman he’ll be OK. Currently 22.7% of Brannen’s possessions end up in turnovers, but his 47% eFGPercentage isn’t bad.

  • @dylans Again, we lack shooting. It’s something that needs to be addressed. I agree with @HighEliteMajor below. It’s not as if Selden needs to play the entire game (especially if he’s not getting it done) so why can’t you find 15 minutes or so to play a perimeter guy?

    I have not given up on the season, and please don’t try to tell me what I think. I will not deny that I am a little pessimistic right now. What I’ve seen has led me to that point. And again, repeating this prevarication of developing next years players over two of the best players we have is unfounded and is completely removed from the point I’m trying to make.

  • @HighEliteMajor I would have gone long based on what I know of performances so far. So would you. But Self has apparently turned some kind of corner on the kind of team this will be. Wiggins has morphed into Xavier 2.0 for whatever reason, probably because he will be gone and has only an average shooting touch. Embiid seems in recent stories to be willing to commit to two seasons, so he is being built around. Oubre is coming to fit with Embiid, not expecting to be bigger than Lebron and Wilt. Self is investing heavily in Naa and Frank, apparently emulating Slick Ricks model last season for this one at guard, and because he senses he may lose one or both of Greene/Whit, when he signs Lyle/Rashad. Something must be going on behind the scenes with Greene. Self sees what we see. This is unfolding much like Peters and Adams. Appearances don’t square with realities. Self usually likes to match up and play it anyway they want. Greene and White were logical choices and Self only contradicts logic, when other “stuff” is going on. The other “stuff” must have made him decide to opt to win the game with the depth of the bigs and a defense retooled for more disruption; i.e., modeling Slick Rick’s small guards as you commented to me per-game. Regarding me over complicating, I doubt I. Could over complicate this extraordinary situation, even if I tried. Self appears in his usual protean style to be shifting gears and playing around being dictated to by difficult circumstances. It does not matter whether Wiggins is not as good as billed, or going the Xavier 2.0 route, or injured, or too young developmentally, he does not play as the next Lebron for KU and Self is recognizing it in the scheme. Wiggins is playing pretty well for a freshman and so he is playing and green lighted. But he has not taken over a game for a month now. Ben Mac played sharply better, so did Rush in their first seasons. I am not even a little unhappy with Wiggins. He is a clear strength. He just is not a great player yet, not nearly as dominant as Anthony Davis, even. And I don’t care if he will be unless he decides to stay. He is what he is now. We are better with him, just as we were better with Xavier.

    Self is masking weak guards; that is the hardest task of all in coaching.this is the second season he has had to do it. It caught up with him last year. It probably will again this year, whether he plays GREENE/WHITE, or does not. Guards and bigs and a great player win rings. He is playing all his bigs to develop them. He is playing THARPE/MASON and Selden to try to develop them. Someone has to sit to let it happen. Self apparently trusts Selden more than Greene and values developing MASON/THARPE more than Greene; that is the simplest version. The more complicated version is the complex backdrop I have alluded to.

    I do think, as I said above that Self will still get around to developing Green/White in January against less tough teams than SDSU, which I think was a heckuva team that would demolish any opponent KU has played so far, if it plays that way all the time.

    We saw yesterday just how much farther Tharpe and Mason have to develop to be effective at PG. Tharpe especially got exposed. Self has to play them big minutes to get them ready even as backup PGs, which is what both of them really are in terms of development this year. They just have to play, because there is no developed point guard around.

    The biggest question facing Self, however is not any of the above, but what to do about Ellis. He is our first option to score, and he cannot score against L&As inside. The verdict is in. He also is a weak rebounder against same. This is the deep flaw in the team Self is building. If Self shifts inside scoring to Embiid, then KU will be out rebounded by L&As. If Self keeps scoring through Perry, KU will score well until KU meets tournament teams that are L&As, and then it will lose. Since Self seems to be scheming toward next season as much as this one, he is probably very close to swinging Perry 3/4. He could already be doing it had Black not been so slow to develop on both ends. Perry is not destined to be a dominant 4 without 25 more pounds, no matter how much lean muscle he develops at 225. At 3, he is an every game MUA. At 4, he will never hold MUA MORE THAN 3/4s of the time. I am no knocking Perry, just saying playing out of position doesn’t get the team to its highest ceiling.

    But Tarick and JAM TRAY haven’t shown they can score, or rebound even as well against the L&As.

    Self is in a real bind with Perry–a quality person and a quality player stuck out of position and out of his depth.

    Swinging Perry exploits the current depth on the bench against L&As, which Self goes to any way now, plus gets Perry ready to swing with Oubre who will not be as good as the hype, as usual.

    Perry can shoot the trey as well as any one we have now squeezing them, plus he is vastly better than White/Greene right now in every other phase of the game.

    What I am repeating from a prior post with more definite is we cannot win at a high level with Perry at the 4, unless Embiid becomes Jabbar/Olajuwan this season and that seems unfeasible even in best case.

    Swinging Perry 3/4 leads to swinging Wiggins 3/2 and this means real time MUAs against the L&A teams at tourney time. Of course Perry can guard any 6-5 to 6-7 guy at 3. And he could whip their butts on offense. And Wiggins is a crushing monster against any 2 on both ends, compared to subbing Naa, or GREENE/WHITE for Selden. It hangs 38 minutes a game on Perry and Wiggins, which they are both capable of. There is no loss to doing it against L&As. Zero. Perry already cannot score and board on the L&As.

    And Greene appears no answer at 3 in any case.

    The good news is the saplings now know unequivocally the difference between young men and boys and unless they are in complete denial they know they are yet boys. While chastening, it is a necessary realization prior to further getting better.

    They got there butts kicked and laughed at that first half. Wiggins had never been laughed off a court before. HE WILL GET BETTER BECAUSE OF IT, BECAUSE HE HAS THE TALENT TO DO SO. IT’S NOT SO CLEAR ABOUT PLAYERS ON THE TALENT BUBBLE, WHICH IS WHY SELF KEEPS YOUNG FOOLS OUTSIDE OF SUCH SITUATIONS.

    But it’s up to Self and Self may not want to invest so much in Wiggins for only a year.

  • Excellent points. Regarding the lack of perimeter players flashing thru the lane when our bigs were doubled–If you rewatch the game (I only watched it live) I believe you will see Wiggins half-heartedly, non-chalantly, passively meandering into the lane on at least several occasions when our post player was double-teamed. My point is, he just isn’t being as aggressive as he needs to be. If he cuts hard through the lane instead of meandering through, he will be wide open for passes from the post. I believe Embiid is a pretty good passer for having such little experience. Wiggins needs to improve this area of his game before he gets to the next level because NBA defenders aren’t going to let you jack 3’s or create your own shot off the dribble as easily.

  • HEM, you are right on the money.

    I was court side, so I was able to pick up on a lot of things I never see on TV. The first thing I noticed was we could not get in rhythm offensively, and no idea how to handle the double team. We could not guard their pick and roll at all.

    Second, I noticed that Fisher is a fantastic coach. His timeouts were executed with perfect timing, among many other things he did.

    Then I noticed Self could not make adjustments to the team. When he tried to send in a three pt threat, he chose the guy that had not seen game time in over a month, in AWIII, instead of Greene who is clearly the superior impact player.

    Next, I saw Perry was O fer 6 with 5 of them being bunnies. He was clearly bothered by the length, and the second layer of blocking.

    The biggest issues I have that I was able to pick up on having been so close to the action:

    1. Wiggins is to lazy without the ball, and I think he has a bad attitude.
    2. The bad attitudes are contagious–how many arms flailing could I count ? A ton. Looked like a bunch of sour puss babies out there getting their A$$ whipped and all they could do is pout.
    3. Wiggins is lazy, and only puts out 1/2 effort most of the game.
    4. Wiggins is lazy.
    5. Selden was overhyped.
    6. Wiggins is lazy. If I had the time, I;d cut all of the game tape I have and show his lazy arse not working without the ball ALL OF THE TIME. He’s worse than BMac as far as not plugging himself into the game.

    Due to being super lucky, I have some friends that work at AFH so I get the opportunity to visit with some of the players. Here is what I picked up on last night:

    This is a team chalked full of bad attitudes, save Joel Embiid. This is a team chalked full of Prima Donnas, Save Joel Embiid. This is a team 1/2 full of people who obviously are focused on themselves instead of the team.

    And I asked Greene if he is going to transfer, even though that probably wasn’t right of me to ask. But I asked, and I didn’t like his response.

  • One more item, Black cannot continue to get minutes over Lucas. He has an incredible knack for rebounding the ball, and he is really long. But I’m afraid that Self is too stubborn to divvy Selden’s time w/ Greene and Blacks with Lucas.

  • @Blown What did Greene say?

  • joeloveshawks–I will qualify this by saying that I have spent the last 8 years investigating people and situations, which includes a lot of interrogation. It’s rarely what people say that you need to listen to, it’s everything else that goes into their response. These guys are coached to respond to all sorts of questions, and I can tell that I caught him off guard. I’m probably an ass for doing it, but I really wanted to get a gage on the situation. On top of the body language, he wouldn’t say “no” and I repeated myself a couple of times.

  • @Blown Gotcha. I appreciate the answer. I truly hope that Greene can figure out how to stay. He looks like he will turn into the real deal at some point. It would be best if he is wearing a KU uniform when he realizes his potential.

    I know we are supposedly still ranked #1 in strength of schedule and it only gets worse from here. Our next 5 game stretch is brutal. What do you all think? Is this good timing that we have to play 3 top 10 teams in the next 5 games so we know we need to get pumped up for every possession or is it the worst thing possible for a young team lacking confidence?

  • @Blown you called it, you sound like an ass to me!

  • @HighEliteMajor

    HEM, you’ve hit the nail on the head. We need to develop a reliable 3 point shooter. You can’t do that if you have guys on too short of a leash. Why is it that Tharpe and make mistake after mistake and stay in games, while other guys (especially Greene) make one mistake and they’re gone? I love Coach Self, and agree with most everything he does, but he seems to have one or two guys, every year, who he won’t allow to play through a few mistakes. Yesterday, White comes in and misses a quick 3, and that’s it for him. Last year Ellis was the guy, until tournament time when he finally was forced to let him play. Is he trying to hide people from NBA scouts?

    Seldon is adding very little. Until he develops an outside shot it is going to be more of the same. Self definitely needs to pick one guy from Greene, White and Frankamp, and get them regular minutes, I’d say a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes a game. Those minutes can come from Seldon, Tharpe and Mason, and maybe a few from Wiggins. You can’t be successful in March if you don’t have at least one reliable 3 point shooter. Teams will continue to play zone and pack it in on our bigs, until a reliable 3 point shooter emerges. To me Greene is the logical guy. He’s long, and he has quick feet. He appears to be very comfortable with the ball when he’s been allowed to play through a mistake or two. White is quicker than last year, but he’s still a bit of a plodder. Frankamp is overmatched on the defensive end of the floor. That leaves Greene the obvious choice.

    There must be a practice or attitude issue going on with him. I recall one game where he didn’t get in when everyone else on the roster did. That’s the only explanation I can think of, because it is obvious watching him he is a tremendous talent. Or, maybe Self is hiding him until next year? Problem is, we need help this year, and we need shooting help now.

    The other guy I’d like to see get more minutes is Landon Lucas. The only other player on the team with his rebounding ability is Embiid. Lucas is always solid when he gets into the game. Traylor adds nothing offensively, and from the limited time I’ve seen Lucas, he doesn’t appear to be as good a rebounder as Lucas. Lucas is one of those guys who, when he finally gets a chance to play, is going to make everyone say, “Where the heck has that guy been?”

    We need help now, not a year from now. Coach needs to mix things up, or the conference season will be more of the same.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Now, why did you have to go and lower yourself to my level by name calling ?

  • @Blown can’t resist, is blown from blowing your own horn? interrogating a kid, really?

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Yep. Blowing my own horn, cause I get off on it. I didn’t interrogate him, I did not make him uncomfortable. He was all smiles the entire time. We had a simple conversation, and I asked him what most people here want to know. I apologize for my improper journalism protocol and etiquette. I pray some day you will find it in your heart to forgive me and we can remain friends.

  • Easy guys, the only rule on here is: “Don’t be a d**k”

  • @dylans ok, that would be hard for me to do!

  • Did anyone else find themselves screaming at the Tv for Mason to pass the ball. Seems to be a bit of a ball hog

  • @Crimsonorblue22 It’s all good. I was just expecting civilhawk to show up.

  • The joys of a young team. They spice it up for the coaches and the fans.

    I fully expect this team, to beat teams, that I expect them to lose to. I fully expect this team, to lose to teams, I expect them to beat.

    It’s like March Madness year-long.

  • @Jhox Great post. Lucas is definitely a guy that I look forward to seeing more of as time goes on.

  • It’s been a good 22 hours now since this loss. I just hope the loss has the desired effect of humbling this team and centering them. I worry that a young team like this has a bit more of a juvenile outlook, and rightfully so, they’re only 19 years old! We lost to a good SDSU and ended up still in the top 20 in many of the polls, and haven’t been blown out by anyone yet. Could this loss at home, losing a historical winning streak, be enough to “break” these guys a little bit and get them more focused heading into conference play? I hope so.

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