Defense? We Don't Need No Stinking Defense!

  • When a #3 team beats a cellar dweller 90-88 on the #3 team’s home floor, something really weird is going on.

    Round up the usual suspect, print him, collect the Rollex, photograph him: Bill Self, face on, Bill Self profile.

    Self has created a worthwhile opponent for his team amidst a string of bottom dwellers: TCU, KSU, TTech, OU, and OSU. The created opponent’s name is Bill Self State.

    Self ran them ragged in practice during the week of getting better.

    He tongue lashed them as only scorpion tongued Self can. He withered their confidence outside the view of fans.

    He took a #3 ranked team on a roll and crushed it into the kind of dead legged, half step slow, joyless bunch of players that are wondering what in God’s creation it takes to make this demon with a whistle and fractured Okie syntax like them.

    Then he sends them out with a joke of an offensive scheme the first half against KSU that amounts to little more than 4 out, 1 in, and take turns trying to make a play on your own, while I scream at you for playing defense like a bunch of babies.

    They get lucky with a few treys and open a 10 point lead that would have been 30 points had Self even let them run the first week’s offensive stuff.

    He flatters them with confidence builders like “This is the worst defensive team I have had at Kansas.”

    And as if to show them just how unimpressed he is with the flipping lucky 10 point lead they eeked out the first half, he sends them back out on the floor and purposely has them run things that won’t work with what little Helmet Hair is able to get his pitiful bunch of City Leaguers to take away! Seriously, its like Self told Snacks over halftime to text his old boss, Weber, and say, tell us what you are going to take away, cause Self wants to give them plays that won’t work against it so they have to figure out how to beat someone themselves, okay? And Weber complied and Self rattle off four plays that absolutely wouldn’t work worth a fecal deposit, and said, “get out their and win it with defense.” And the players said, “But, but, coach, what defensive scheme do you want us to run this half?” And Self laughed that withering laugh of his and said, “Screw it, make up something yourselves. I’ve tried every thing with you babies, and you won’t even stay with your own shadows. Get outta my sight. I’m not even sure I’m coming out the second half. You guys are destroying 11 years of teams building a defensive reputation at Kansas in one lousy season. Get outta my face.”

    And they trudged back out and not only frittered away the lead, but then completely stopped playing defense and said, “Let’s show that sunnuvabitch, let’s swap baskets the entire second half until he infarcts over there!!”

    And that’s just what they did.

    They did not find a way to win it.

    They fought all the way backwards to even with seconds to go, despite shooting 50 percent from trey for the game. Do you have any idea how bad they had to have played and how little they had to have guarded to fritter away a ten point lead while shooting 50% from trey? Its almost a statistical impossibility.!!!

    Against even a half way respectable opponent they would have been handily drubbed the second half.

    But not this brow beaten, dead legged bunch with an OAD, and not against a hilariously bad KSU team.

    No, the Ukrainian Kid, of all persons, took a pass on a break with seconds to go and dribbled and three-stepped his way into an uncalled charge and still managed to hole one that sent the farmers back to finish their manure shoveling chores.

    Frankly, winning this spectacle of induced cluelessness on not one but two bad calls that unconscionably favored KU (KSU got home jobbed out of the game), seems perhaps this team’s ultimate revenge on its own Machiavellian head coach.

    Ha, Bill, they showed YOU!!!

    They proved they could give a game away, play no defense whatsoever, and still find a way to back into a win inspite of you!!!

    I watched the final minute and a half twice and, Bill, I actually think I saw the refs look at each other after reviewing the missed travel and the missed charge, and one appeared to say to the other, “I’ve never seen a coach screw with his own teams heads this much. Of course, the basket didn’t count. Of course the kid traveled. Of course the kid charged. But I want to give this W to the KU players for putting up with all of his shit.” And the other ref seemed to say, “Yeah, and if we do call it, KSU will just choke, and Self with finally give them some stuff to run that works and KU will win the OT by 5 and we’ll have hang around here just that much longer for the same pay. The spread is toast regardless. I don’t want to give Self that satisfaction. Let’s just give his team the call and the win, and see how he likes facing them after they showed him they don’t need to play his goddamned Self Defense to win. That ought to keep him up a few hours later than normal tonight.”

    And that’s what the refs apparently did.

    And the players?

    They must have shouted:


    We don’t need no stinking defense!!!

  • @jaybate-1.0 man, I sure hope youre right because it was a pretty horrific effort defensively and we were sloppy on offense even though we scored 90. The thing I keep going back to is last year when the team experienced a noticeable improvement starting at the beginning of February. Hopefully we will start to see a similar improvement because if we dont, this team will have no chance for a one seed.

  • KState scored 88 points on 51% shooting in our house. If KState had continued to get the ball to Johnson in the paint from the 8 min mark until he fouled out, they would have won. Even doubled by Jackson and Bragg, Johnson could finger-roll shots for easy baskets. It’s crazy how teams stop doing what was working. Unless our defense improves, it’s going to be tight trying to win number 13. What in the heck is wrong with DG’s defense? Everyone drives right by him.

  • We’re two games into the short bench era at KU and I’m worried. I worried all summer about our lack of interior play, all the while salivating at our stellar perimeter. Two games since Doke went to the infirmary and we’ve looked relatively pedestrian. Did he make that much of a difference on this team? We shall see, but I’m guessing we will see our opponents coaches scheme ways to exploit our weak interior.

  • @stoptheflop said:

    What in the heck is wrong with DJ’s defense? Everyone drives right by him.

    Assuming u mean DG, the tell is the leg lingerie. Nobody wears that stuff, because it’s sexy. He must have some leg problems. His play has been off all season, but lately as he looks more and more like THE MUMMY from the draw string down, his entire game seems to have fallen off the same way Landen Lucas’ game did, when he was playing under-reported regarding injuries.

  • @wissox said:

    Did he [Doke] make that much of a difference on this team?

    It’s Graham playing under-reported that is weakening the perimeter D.

    Re: Doke–He gave boards and block&alter, while Landon recovered and quality rest once he did recover. Though foul prone he was intimidating physically. Self was starting him to shorten games for Landen, but teammates are emboldened by any big hunk of man that can retaliate.

    “We shall see, but I’m guessing we will see our opponents coaches scheme ways to exploit our weak interior.”

    This is coming, during Landen’s 5-10 rest minutes per game. Longer if Bragg doesn’t round out soon.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Thanks for catching my typo. Something is wrong with Devonte; he just isn’t playing as aggressively as he did last year.

  • @stoptheflop

    Thx for noticing DG coming up short.

    The strength of this team was never Frank, OR Devonte. It was Frank AND Devonte!

    Got to get DG to a witch doctor to cast a good spell on his wheels.

  • @jaybate-1.0 That was an enjoyable story! There are big chunks that seem quite a stretch, but I enjoyed reading it 🙂

  • @jaybate-1.0 @StLJhawk I enjoyed it also. Reminds of the play “Of Mice & Men” - except Lenny would probably say “We ain’t got no stinking defense !”

  • @StLJhawk

    Mostly the truth with a few stretchers.

    –Huckleberry Bate

  • @jaybate-1.0 As always, I agree Self is a genius, I enjoy your take on things, and I hope you’re right!

  • @jaybate-1.0 DAM Devonte first TWO games in Big 12. - - - - 28.5 fg % - -6-21 , - - - 28.5 3pt% - - -4-14 - -ONE Steal that plus the defensive effort - - -well hell the WHOLE TEAM’S Defensive effort, then there you go boys and girls I mean - - -JUMPIN - - GEE - - HOSSA - - -FATS - - -REALLY? -Again when is the last time an opposing team came in and shot over 50% for the game against us in the Bill Self era? - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • @jaybate-1.0 iirc, hasn’t Devonte always worn various supports around his knees?

  • @HawkChamp

    Don’t think so. I only recall him wearing a ton of stuff on his legs during those occasional stretches when Self would have everyone wear them to try to mask which guy was playing underreported. He’s not doing that right now. And as I said, there are just lots of times when Devonte is not leaping as he used to do. That is always a sign that a guy his saving his hops for key plays, because his springs hurt.

  • @jayballer54

    Two straight 28% games on a good shooter signal unreported injury.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Have you seen the warm up videos? He is hitting from half court…hard to do if you are injured.

  • @jaybate-1.0 still don’t agree fully with you. Compare what he is wearing last year in the Big 12 tournament to the last game against TCU. Very similar.

  • @JayHawkFanToo exactly. The theory is not matching the facts.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Sorry, what I was trying to get across is that for the first TWO games in conference he is shooting 28.5 deom the field AND shooting 28.5 % 3pt shooting, Kind of odd shooting the same pct in the tfirst two but not very good - - ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • On the injury thing, @jaybate-1.0 is usually quick to pin things on injuries. Many times he’s right. Here, I’m skeptical.

    On the defense thing, I firmly believe that your scheme and approach is premised on your personnel. That includes defensive acuity. If you are not up to par defensively, the world does not end. The game is won based on only one ultimate factor – who scores more.

    As untenable as a 90-88 score may seem to Self, it counts the same as the 65-60 score he seems to enjoy.

    We just have to cover our limitations. I had mentioned in a recent post the 2013-14 Jayhawks after we lost Embiid. Focusing on our strengths, understanding our defense was compromised, called for an all out approach to outscore the opponent, understanding we’d give up points. Not a "who cares’ approach to defense, but maybe a “it’s not the end of world” approach. Energy focused on offense and more possessions.

    We are much in the same boat inside defensively now. Opponents will simply try to foul up Lucas. I say, so what?

    There will be bad matchups. But unless there is a bull inside and the opposition plays zone (or a very nimble/quick big), our perimeter players are so good we can create the advantage. Hard for big guys to keep up with the high quality smaller players (and to help) than the other way around (where it’s easier to trap on the box or double low). If we can shoot over a zone, we can beat anyone.

    No approach is completely reliable.

    @wissox asked if Doke made that big of a difference. Losing Doke was huge. It limits our options. But we still are a top 5 team, and a team that can win the NC.

  • @HighEliteMajor Good point, and really, wouldn’t we rather watch a 90-88 game instead of a 60-57 game?

  • @HighEliteMajor I know we are only talking 2 games here…but we have had 2 close games with good, but not really good teams…in large part…because of our defense… isn’t that cause for concern in March? The teams we will play in March will be considerably better than TCU and KSU.

  • I think we’re cakewalking. I can understand why the guys look at K-State as a bye week. We’ll get better defensively- Devonte is saving his body for the big games, imo. Frank as well.

  • @KUSTEVE you know, I kind of had that feeling also. Our returning starters know that they can get the job done in the tourney as they went to the elite eight last year. In theory, there is little use in blowing out K State and getting even more worn out. Now none of us like games like last night, but in the larger sense blowing them out last night has zero impact on how we play at Ames.

  • @KUSTEVE a lil to close for me!

  • I think Self is taking a similar approach this year that he did in 2012 when he had a really short bench. That was an offensively challenged team, but an elite defensive team so Self relied on their defense to win games.

    This year, this team is an elite offensive team, but not a great defensive team. Self is going to ride this offense as far as he can this year even though it has to be killing him mentally to rely on offense instead of relying on defense.

  • First, the loose defensive morals of this basketballl monastery are enough to make me feel I have fallen in with offensive heathen.


    Friar @wissox seems to have become positively reptilian. He would rather win 90-88 than 60-57? OMG! Forgive him Father!!!

    Friar @KUSTEVE thinks Devonte is saving his body? This is a sin against basketball manhood and may result in a lightening strike.

    Friar @HighEliteMajor is openly skeptical about unreported injury to one of KU’s top guards in the Selfian Era after him having two straight 28% shooting nights in Conference and barely being able to jump down the stretch of the KSU game? Ten Hail Jimmies, Brother HEM.

    I could go on here, but the point is made.

    There is a pox upon our basketball monastery,

    A plague of locusts may be coming to devour our gardens and wolves may come to eat our lambs.

    90-88 win with a travel and a charge on one’s home floor against a cellar dweller? Against no talent sod busters with milking callouses on their palms and oat hay straw in their hair?

    The Lord Basketball god shall ravage you all with hail until thou art beaten birds in the blighted corn and sin of Sodom East of Eden.

  • @jaybate-1.0 said

    . Nobody wears that stuff, because it’s sexy.

    Don’t underestimate the sexy feeling of spandex. Especially if a woman provides positiv feedback.

  • @HighEliteMajor love the point:

    “As untenable as a 90-88 score may seem to Self, it counts the same as the 65-60 score he seems to enjoy.”

  • @jaybate-1.0 Years of Dick Bennett and Bo Ryan scores I’m ready for some Tarkanian run n gun in Lawrence!

  • @HighEliteMajor said:

    As untenable as a 90-88 score may seem to Self, it counts the same as the 65-60 score he seems to enjoy

    Thinking proportionally, 90-88 is really more like 65-64.98573.


  • @jaybate-1.0. 63.555555555555… (repeating 5’s)

  • Self needs to light a fire under Devonte. He can’t make a layup or defend. That guy is playing terrrible and will cost KU games if he doesn’t play closer to his potiental. Hell I’d love last years Devonte. If he’s not injured he’s tanking for another reason, girl, family, school, maybe Maxwell was his buddy. I don’t know what’s wrong, but Devonte needs to fix it pronto!

  • @JayHawkFanToo I can hit a half court shot sitting in a chair. I saw Rod Stewart making threes from the bench while his leg was in a cast. Half court shots prove nothing, but that he likes to screw around instead of practicing a real skill or pushing his teammates to get better.

  • @dylans I love that they practice the half court shot. When we make one to win a game all of us will be glad they practiced a seemingly frivolous shot. RCJH

  • @dylans

    First, sitting on a chair at half court you probably don’t hit the free throw line…a lot harder than it seems and a trick shot that late and great Pete Maravich would do from the paint while playing donkey and most other players could not 😃

    Look at this video of the the 3 point shot at halftime…nothing wrong with him…

  • @JayHawkFanToo And yet I have and I’m not athletic in the least. You can ignore the rest of my post if you wish, I’m not going to look up video of Stewart to prove my point. I’m not saying Graham is hurt, just that a cripple can make a half court shot.

  • @dylans

    Perhaps I did not explain myself well. My point was that contrarily to some poster’s assertion that he is injured, he appears to be physically fit, that’s all.

  • @dylans

    Nothing wrong with Devonte that 2 working legs wouldn’t cure. The hyperextended left elbow is apparently indirectly influencing his release on his shot. And he can’t fend off with it either. And the scout on him has to read: “hyperextended left elbow–non shooting arm–makes it super tough for him to put it on the deck going to his left. Thus, waaaaaay overplay his right.”

    Oh, and one more thing. Remember that to really play pressure defense on the perimeter, you have to be able to turn and burn, when you occasionally get faked out and the guy gets by you. Devonte is showing no signs of turn and burn; that was really what tipped me off to the bomb pins. He is a good actor. He covers it up well.

  • @jaybate-1.0 He isn’t himself.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    ““As untenable as a 90-88 score may seem to Self, it counts the same as the 65-60 score he seems to enjoy.””

    I question if any of us really know what goes on in Bill’s head.

    I think most of us (myself included) has always viewed Bill as a “defensive coach,” meaning… defense first, everything else (including offense) second.

    Now we see him as someone who is opening his mind and changing. Maybe he really isn’t changing but we just didn’t know him that well in the first place?

    I think of things Bill has said over the years. One thing that stands out now in my memory is, “margin of error.”

    Perhaps all along Bill’s main focus is on creating a situation where we have the largest margin to screw up and still win. This idea seems to work with everything he has said historically.

    If we don’t buckle down on defense now, we reduce our margin of error considerably. We can’t afford to have a bad shooting night, or high TOs, or low rebounding, or bad FT%, or extreme foul trouble…

    With no defense we can’t hardly afford to have a bad night in any other area and still hope to win.

    If we play good defense, we can win almost any situation. This was the lesson from BAD BALL. We didn’t win all the time, but we won a lot of games with a bad offense.

  • Well heard something interesting from a sports talk show today. - - kind of interesting - -and really makes some sense. - -The point being made, we hold KU in such high esteem - -so highly accountable that as they stated KU’S lowest Kem-Pom rating for defense under Coach Self was 22nd. - -They right now are at 26. - - like they said, there are 350 teams in College basketball - - WE have a Kem-Pom rating of TWENTY SIX - -and yet HERE WE BITCH. – WE are TWENTY SIXTH out of 350 schools in defense.- - Do we realize how many teams would love to have a rating of TWENT SIXTH out of 350? I mean Seriously. - -And Yes I’m just as guilty, but IT DOES put some things in perspective - -Are expectations are soooo dam high for these guys, we have gotten soo used to it, it’s actually kind of ridicilious. - - -AGAIN TWENT SIXTH in defense in the Nation out of 350 schools. - -Time to breathe & like Aaron Rodgers from Green Bay said - - R - - E - - L - -A - -X we are going to be fine, they WILL get better. - - ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • @jaybate-1.0 Sorry to disagree, I was at the game and the scoreboard replay clearly showed that Svi did not travel and if a foul were to be called, it would have been a blocking call on KSU. One of KU’s problems was the fact that KSU played some pretty damn good defense (KU did not). How we scored 90 points is a mystery other than the fact it was a really high tempo contest. Hope you don’t give me 20 lashes but this is how I saw the game.

  • @jessejayhawk KU scoring a lot of points is no mystery - this is one of the best offensive teams in the country behind Kentucky and UCLA.

  • @jessejayhawk coach self said Svi traveled

  • @Crimsonorblue22 I don’t know how you can look at the replay and say he did not travel.

  • @jayballer54

    I want you for my Media manager. You almost made it seem all okay. A Kelly Anne Conway level of reassurance and calm. Bravo, sir!

    For a second there I blinked and forgot Self said ithis was his worst defense at Kansas.

    Alas, they also looked bad defensively the last two games.

    And 88 points is a lot to give up on your home floor to a rival that had to scramble just to field a team this season.

    What is their KENPOM rating the last two games?

    Maybe that 26 rank included the whole season; I.e., before Doke went out and DG started appearing to play unreported?

    I thought they were progressing toward being a good defense until recently. I was comfortable that early injuries accounted for some early problems and they were healing. But…

    After these lat two games something seems very wrong. Not irreversibly wrong, but concerning enough to Self to call them his worst defensive team in hopes of spurring them back into effective defenders.

    I reckon some shorter practices should help, too.

  • @jessejayhawk

    KU scoring: KU scores well, shot 50%, and they played a weak team; Thanatos explains KU’s 90.

    Svi traveling: I counted three steps after picking up his dribble. Self says he travelled. Others above saw the travel. Maybe the Washington Post thinks Putin hacked the scoreboard replay as a favor to Svi?

    Svi charging: the home team often gets that call, so I’ll be a mensch and write that off.

  • @Hawk8086 I say he did

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