Moving Forward

  • Today’s loss was definitely a surprise. If I would have had to guess, I would have said a loss on Monday night was much more probable than losing at home to the cryclones. We were cruising in the first half and were in control up 14. Then the second half started out with two or three straight turnovers and Landen missing a pair of free throws. That to me says our guys were not mentally in the game. They thought they were in control and could coast as usual to an easy W on a Saturday afternoon.

    Iowa State easily played their best game of the year. Just like Oregon, they hit a school record number of threes which propelled them to a W. Basically, both feasted on a large helping of fool’s gold. Whenever you have to hit a record number of threes to win, that to me is fool’s gold.

    My main issue with Self’s coaching today is the lack of game plan to stop their shooters. So: what do you do to stop hot three point shooting? Jesse Newell had an article a while back that says it doesnt matter if a guy is guarded or not - the percentage of makes doesnt change. Coming from a player, this is simply nonsense and, if I may say so, foolish thinking. To combat ISU, you have to get right in their grill and MAKE them dribble and make a move. It was clear to all that they were super hot in the second half and that something should be done. You have to force them to shoot over the top in the paint. I know that ISU had a few very contested shots, but far too many were open enough that they were not rushed or forced, which means that guys like Svi and Josh did not disrupt the shooters nearly enough.

    So where does that leave us moving forward? I was reading a comment on another site and it said that in 04-05, KU won at Kentucky, at Iowa State, then lost to Iowa State at home, and we all remember how that season just got worse and worse after a really good start. First off, the two teams are drastically different. Secondly, we haven’t seen this year’s team play amazing to start the season then taper off - their level of play has been fairly consistent. Thirdly, I think this year’s squad is more dynamic because of the four guard lineup. Have we lost yet because we are “shorter” and “don’t have a shot blocker”? No. Having Dok, IMO, wouldn’t have won us the game today because our guards were so sloppy with the ball and ISU made their comeback with the three, not the two. We were successful when our guards, on a few possessions, forced them off the three point line.

    The truth is, we aren’t going to lose a single game this year because we don’t have a shot blocker. To me, people have followed the media’s narrative that at the University of Kansas, unless you have a rim protector, you aren’t going to succeed. Of course, I have listed all of the teams that made the final four without a Joel Embiid or Karl Anthony Towns, so clearly this narrative is bull.

    The game Monday is going to be, IMO, our toughest test yet. Bruce can really coach, his guys play good D, shoot the ball well and on top of that the crowd will be fired up. Personally, I think this one will be an L, but the key to winning will be 1. drive and kick every possession 2. having around 12 turnovers or fewer 3. drive their shooters off the 3 point line. So basically, do the things we need to do every game.

    These situations suck, but one thing to remember is Villanova last year lost in the BE tournament to Seton Hall, North Carolina last year lost at home to Duke, Duke in 2015 lost by 20 at home to Miami, UConn in 2014 lost by 30 to Louisville a few weeks before the tourney, and Louisville in 2013 had a three game losing streak. Sometimes, tough losses just happen. But what shows the character and toughness of a team is how they play their next games after that.

    I think Monday’s game will decide where this team will go. Will they bounce back like the veteran, experienced team that they are? Or will they be like the 05 team and fold under the pressure. We will find out shortly.

  • @HawkChamp do you watch the post game shows or listen to them?

  • @Crimsonorblue22 yes. Why?

  • @HawkChamp the guys and Self answered a lot of those questions. Self called a lot of timeouts and this was the first game I’ve seen this year where they blew so many set plays. Looked like they were lost. Unforced! Ll killed me out there! I was begging Mason not to throw in it there at the end, cause he hadn’t handled one all afternoon. Him and josh both were stripped over and over. The guys talked how the scouting report was keeping your head on a swivel cause they relocate so well-most teams do. Svi😤! I think I wouldn’t have let Burton catch the ball, make him work at least. I might have even tried 5 guards. First loss I’ve seen at AFH, very disappointing!

  • @Crimsonorblue22 I didn’t have many questions. Again, we committed TEN more turnovers than they did and lost by three. That is the difference in the game, regardless of how well ISU shot the ball.

  • 21 turnovers. We didn’t play defense this game. We got defended.

  • Hate to say it, but I think we lose tomorrow in the octagon of dumb and then pick it back up on Saturday. One day of distraction-filled rest ain’t gonna help these guys against a hungry K-State team. They need a week to learn, process, and cleanse.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Yes the turnovers in general…but especially those strips were frustrating. The Star showed replays of some of those 3s…Josh just not paying attention or not hustling on a couple of Burton 3s. And in OT when Jackson made that last 3…Svi was simply ball watching and lost his man…really poor defense and attention to detail.

  • And yet, neither Baylor nor West Virginia could capitalize on their home court advantages…even while knowing the outcome of our game. Appears their only distraction was trying to hang a ‘win’ and advance in the standings, yet both came up short.

    I am with Self on this one…“mental fatigue” took its toll… and the primary variable moving forward.

  • @HawkChamp

    Kindda makes you wonder how Coach Self won all those games without a game plan, doesn’t it?

    Like @Crimsonorblue22 indicated, Coach Self called several timeouts to correct the problems, but if the players don’t execute, there is really not much he can do short of stepping into the court and shoving the players into position ala Calipari…it is not like he has a deep bench he can go to when the starters are having bad days.

  • The game reminded me of the Michigan game, in retrospect. Big lead, lackadaisical 2nd half effort, panic…loss. You have to come ready to play every game- when you don’t, you get beat. I was very disappointed in several player’s efforts, but I know the Bataan death march schedule, combined with dealing with Soofi’s jihad, left us vulnerable, and an inferior team that was desperate for a signature win took advantage. The national championship 2008 team lost 3 games in less than 2 weeks. These things happen. They’re human beings- they aren’t robots. We aren’t going to lose to the Grapes Monday. We will win that game.

  • @KUSTEVE We usually bounce back pretty well from losses…so I believe we will see a better defensive effort. I have a feeling about a win as well.

  • @JayHawkFanToo post game the guys always say they did well if they paid attention to scouting report. I just got so frustrated w/ll. He’s needs to dominate those small teams. They were just waiting to swarm and strip and he made it easy for them. But then again, 18 boards. The missed alley oop turned into a 5 pt game. Ball watching😡🤤🤢

  • @JayHawkFanToo speaking of cal, did you watch that game last pm? They were killed. Showed monk on the bench laughing, not a good look!

  • My view on yesterday was that our help defense left guys open. My main thought as ISU was making their run was to simply match up, be “in their grill” as @HawkChamp said, and help only when your offensive player was near the lane.

    I do disagree, though, just a little bit. How would yesterday’s game have changed if we had Udoka? Remember, our help defense is MORE necessary when the lane is vulnerable. The threat of the drive to the hoop requires the second defender. If that threat is marginalized by a shot blocker, my view is that we would not have to be so frantic in our help defense. It would be interesting to see how that would have impacted their three point shooting.

    But there is no doubt that we can win playing the way we do, with our personnel. The bigger point that @HawkChamp is making, as I see it, is that every team has its warts. Rarely do you get the perfect combination. You can win with or without a shot blocker. This scheme and personnel can certainly win a national title.

    Remember the age old narrative – guards win titles? Well we have the best guards in the country. Period.

    So I am completely with @HawkChamp here in what he’s getting at – screw the rim protector. We don’t have one. We did play sloppy yesterday, to be sure, rim protector or no.

    This team’s margin for error, as I believe Self has mentioned earlier this season, is thinner.

    In the big picture, this team is volatile … like a stock that has ups and downs. If one invests, he/she is aware of the “beta.” We are a high beta team.

    We don’t have solid baseline of reliable defense. In investing terms, a good, reliable defense would lower the beta (or volatility). It’s why Self (and most coaches) preach defense. Good defense is much more reliable than good offense. The only reason you become an offense first team is because you have too. As a defense first team, you can still be explosive and aggressive offensively. That is where Self, in the past, has played it too conservatively. You can be dynamic offensively, just as we are now AND play bad-a** defense. Now, he simply has a team incapable of being a lock down defensive team. Thus the increased volatility.

    However, I’ve always believed that playing conservative offensively increases the volatility as well. You allow lesser teams to stay in the game. But good defense is certainly more reliable.

    So, are we any different than we’ve always been? Maybe not as much as we think. Our pedestrian offenses – meaning deliberate, work the ball, toss it to the block, also created volatility. But I think it’s a bit more this season.

    Sadly, I think we were on the verge of a perfect combination with Udoka and four guards, with Lucas off the bench. Self clearly embraced the three point shot and the four guard line-up. Udoka did give us rim protection. The model Duke used with Okafer to with the title, with Jackson in the Justice Winslow role.

    Udoka was not Okafer, but Lucas is not Udoka, either; regardless of which player you prefer, we can all agree that our next group of “bigs” (Mitch and Coleby) are a significant downgrade. Thus a big loss in depth.

    But with our guards, we can still win the national title. Of course we can.

    With our increased volatility, yesterday should be no true surprise. We could have just as easily lost to KSU or OSU at home.

    We also have the accrual of off-the-court pressure and distractions. That’s the real X factor this season.

    I have great confidence that we walk into the house that Roy built on Monday night and come out with a win. In fact, with the loss Saturday, I’d be pretty surprised if we don’t – but with this team, not shocked.

    We are 20-3. That is really what defines this team at this point. Does anyone really doubt that this team can win six games in a row in the tourney? I don’t. And that’s really what defines the future.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Florida fans were singing him happy birthday. I find it humorous that so many fans are so up in arms about it.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 That was one of the most frustrating things for me. - -How many times I counted at least 2-3 times where we came don and tried to make that ESPN high-lite play one of those quote unquote spectactular play the alley oop – slam dunk, dam it just make the simple play and take the two. – Between that and Josh getting beat time and time again not defending Burton those two things really hurt…

    I have to agree, if we don’t come out really focused tomorrow night we will get beat. Like another person said this team is not good enough to play really really good 1st half and then come out the 2nd and think we can put it in cruise control, just not that good.

    Observations: - -the only thing a person could take from this is, if they are trying to gloss this loss over would be, for sports site talk is - -We at least didn’t lose any ground in the Big 12 race & we probably won’t take a huge hit in the rankings as the # 2 3 5 7 8 9 & 17 all lost - -Really shouldn’t be looking at it this way but if your wanting to soothe your own feathers then you can take that approach. In reality I still just don’t deel there is that ONE really dominant over powering team this year for the tournament. - -I think it will be a crap shoot we shall see - - - ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • Hey guys just thought of this, I’ve been wanting to ask this. - Was going to put this I’m a separate thread but I’ll go this route. - - - - Now I see this all the time , and I just can’t understand exactly, I mean I know there is a reason but just seems like this DOES NOT WORK for ANYONE. - -Ok, so, - -many many, times I see where Landen, but it’s just not KU it’s every game I watch doesn’t matter who - -The Big man on defense will flash out high free thrown extended and show double on a guy - -and seems like every time this allows the other team some guy breaks free in the lane , down the lane as there is no one back to defend easy score for them. - -Why do we continue to do this? can some one tell me please - -I don’t understand it- -just don’t get it thanks - - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • @KUSTEVE I hope youre right about tomorrow’s game - I think it will be our second toughest test to date after WVU. I mentioned on another thread that the 2009 UNC that won the title lost their first conference game at home to Boston College. Losses just happen and I am sure the guys want to redeem themselves after that pathetic second half.

  • @HawkChamp I compared this team to 04-05 Earlier, I hope it’s not true but the effort for that club went away. They played like they didn’t care. I’ll say this team is no different if we don’t hustle tomorrow.

  • @kjayhawks I agree - tomorrow’s game will be the indicator for how this team will end up.

  • @HawkChamp yep when how will they respond? With fire I hope!!

  • @kjayhawks There was always the belief that the 04-05 team had chemistry issues. In fact, one of the guys had said that some guys on that team didn’t like others.

  • @Hawk8086 that would explain it. So far, I have not heard or seen anything to indicate that our present team has similar issues. I think they like playing together - Josh has said that he likes playing with Frank and Devonte.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    I think the egos at Kentucky are starting to clash and the team is slowly imploding. Easy to have good chemistry when you are winning but when loses start to pile up chemistry goes out the window.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Too many of them at once. Either it works or it doesn’t. Having said that, they have way too much talent not to be a top tier team.

  • @JayHawkFanToo unless they don’t give a 💩 Kinda like the fb guys that didn’t play in bowl games or Simmons from lsu that shut it down early.

  • I’m still scratching my head after blowing a 14 pt lead in AFH. KU plays soft and ISU comes shooting 3s like their life depended on them. It was a disastrous ending.
    I will bet this game will be ISU’s best game for the rest of the season. No way they shoot like this again on the road. The trey will be their down fall on a night when they could’ve beaten an NBA team. No way do they get lightening in a bottle again. I said this after the IU loss too. Look where IU is right now. KU better let this lousy home loss go and use it as a painful reminder they now have to start a new streak. The pressure is off and they can play loose. KSU will be shooting for their throats too. KU better be ready for a blood bath in the barnyard.

  • They seem to have a problem getting motivated against non top 20 teams.

    Obviously, tomorrow is a huge game. But what about the game after, at TT? Will we be motivated in Lubbock?

    I know… one game at a time. I’m just saying we can’t let up on any team in our league… just like we won’t be able to let up on the first weekend of the March tourney.

  • @drgnslayr very true. I think that is Bills ultimate problem to solve: how to consistently beat teams you are better than in the tourney. This has been discussed for years and I think the answer is tempo. Pressing and getting out in transition I think are the answer. We saw that at the beginning of the second half against Baylor. They couldn’t keep up with our guards. I think your idea of tempo being the most important element is absolutely correct.

  • @HawkChamp

    I believe almost every game we played this year qualifies as BAD BALL. We let our opponents set the tempo. That means we have to face every opponent at their best.

    This is where we need leadership. Someone on the floor talking, pointing, inspiring, planning… and in this case, pushing…

  • @chriz said:

    Hate to say it, but I think we lose tomorrow in the octagon of dumb and then pick it back up on Saturday. One day of distraction-filled rest ain’t gonna help these guys against a hungry K-State team. They need a week to learn, process, and cleanse.

    Nostradumbass at it again