It's #1 Seed Or Bust: The Path To The Title

  • Kansas now seems back in the mix for a #1 seed. Seemed improbable three plus weeks ago. But here we are. Back in the discussion. This fact may be the most important development in our pursuit of a national title.

    However, with four losses and a challenging conference road ahead, a #1 seed seems unlikely, doesn’t it? Right now, there are two undefeated teams that look like locks for a #1 seed: Arizona and Syracuse. Then there’s Wichita St., who might run the table; and a host of others – San Diego St., Kentucky, Florida, Michigan St., or Michigan – for that last spot. Lots of competition with two that have beaten us head to head.

    I looked at the numbers. Since and including the 2000 season, nine teams with six losses or more have gotten #1 seeds, and three of those had seven losses. So of 56 possible #1 seed spots, only nine have had six or more losses. With our #1 RPI, it seems more possible than in a normal season.

    But with the competition stiff, and our margin of error slim, no one should bank on a #1 seed, even if we finish 16-2 in conference play. When assessing the competition, a #2 seed seems much more likely right now. But 16-2, and no more than six losses, seems like the breaking point.

    Can we bank on 16-2? Of course not. No matter how good we are, 16-2 is an incredible feat. Heck, 16-2 and winning the conference tournament leaves us with 6 losses. That would be a huge achievement. And an unlikely one.

    How does that impact our title pursuit if we slip to #2 seed? If we’re just looking at history – the last 25 years – it doesn’t look good.

    I’ve posted a few times before about the rate of #1 seeds winning the NCAA title. It is really astounding. Over the last 25 years, #1 seeds have won the title 18 times. That’s a 72% clip. Over the last 10 seasons, 7 #1 seeds have won the title. So approximately 70% of the time, it’s a good bet that the #1 seed will win the title.

    Analyzing that is a bit of “which came first, the chicken or the egg.” Do #1 seeds win more because of their favorable seeding? Or do #1 seeds win more because, as #1 seeds, they are just better (thus why they have the #1 seed in the first place)?

    I don’t think it matters. It is what it is. Gaining a #1 seed means you are in that select group that wins the title 72% of the time. So achieving the #1 seed appears to be a worthy goal. Even if you’re not one of the top 4 teams (perhaps getting the seed because of circumstance), you still have the best presumed path to the title. Of course, the Red Sea can part and you can be Kansas in 1988. You can have #1 Purdue lose to #4 seed KSU; you can have #2 seed Pitt lose to Vanderbilt; and you can have #3 seed NC State lose to Murray St. But the Red Sea doesn’t part every day.

    By contrast, only two #2 seeds have won the title in the last 25 years. Think about that. Just two #2 seeds in the last 25 years. That’s a bit remarkable, really. The #2 seed, many times, is as good as a #1 seed, or so we think. But the numbers don’t bear that out. Seven #2 seeds have gotten to the title game and lost, five of them to #1 seeds. If #2 seeds are as good as #1s, the numbers tell us that the #1s path is significantly easier. Either way – chicken or the egg – you want to be a #1 seed.

    That provides a puzzling conundrum. Does coach Self coach to get better for March, possibly losing a game or two by playing with an eye on the prize? Or does coach Self simply coach to win every game on the premise that the #1 seed is the first, most important consideration in winning the title?

    Many of us, myself included, have wanted Self to play a perimeter guy (Greene) to get ready for March. The question then becomes whether playing Greene more could cost us a game or two? And could that loss or two eventually cost us a #1 seed, and thus cost us the chance to win a national title (per the historical numbers)?

    Right now, our margin of error is extremely thin. We’re not positioned like we have been in past seasons. If you believe the importance of the #1 seed, it would seem obvious that we need to play to win every game, without any other consideration in our minds. Development of players is out the door. Win, that’s all that counts right now. The #1 seed is that important. If we were to lose three or four more games, then any chance of a #1 seed is done. At that point, being a #2 or #3 is irrelevant. In fact, #3 seeds have won the title four times in the last 25 season, doubling the rate of #2 seeds. But do we have a Kemba Walker, or a Caremlo Anthony to propel a #3 seed? Can’t bank on that.

    A #1 seed is the best, most reliable path to the title.

    So it is win at all costs. Win every game. Every game is the Super Bowl. No room for let downs. No real margin for error. Realistically, 16-2 in conference keeps us in the game for a #1 seed. That’s our target. Wining the conference isn’t the target. Winning the conference is a byproduct of the race to the #1 seed. It serves as a convenient motivator on the road to the goal that really matters.

    And perhaps that has always been in coach Self’s mind. When we call for guys to get more minutes, perhaps Self is simply thinking “#1 seed, don’t lose a game.” It would be an interesting question for coach Self. Right now, the goal is clear. It’s #1 seed or bust.

  • @HighEliteMajor If we’re not a 1 seed, which team above us would you prefer to see as the 1 seed in our bracket?

    And regarding aiming for the 4 seed (not that we’d likely be able to plan for it, but it’s interesting), do you think it would be advantageous to see the one early as the 4 seed, rather than at the end of the bracket as the 2, thereby “becoming” the one seed by knocking them off (say facing Wichita St in the Midwest bracket in the Sweet 16)?

    • 1 Arizona (63) 20-0
    • 2 Syracuse (2) 19-0
    • 3 Florida 17-2
    • 4 Wichita State 21-0
    • 5 San Diego State 18-1

    Personally, I don’t want to see San Diego State or Florida again, and not interested in playing Boeheim. I think my preference would be Wichita State and then Arizona.

  • I agree it does appear as though Self is going the #1 seed way. However, I have always felt that people put too much emphasis on getting a #1 seed. It’s not as though a top seed is unimportant, but what this team needs right now until the tournament begins is development. Remember, the '12 team was a #2 seed and made it all the way to the championship, but lost because Kentucky just had more talent. Personally, it doesn’t matter if this team gets a one or two seed. Getting a two seed will not prevent them from getting to Dallas and bringing home some hardware. Not rebounding will cost them a title. Having over 15 turnovers will cost them a title. Poor defense will cost them a title. If you look at their losses this year, the former are the reasons why they lost, save maybe the Florida game.

    If you think back to the last handful of years where KU has been a #1 seed('07, '10, '11, and '13), having a #1 seed has not helped them to get to the final four. The three elements that I listed have prevented them from doing better in the tournament. The one year out of the past decade besides the championship team where I felt like they were prepared was '12 when they had some disappointing losses in the non con. It’s the same thing this year. Their schedule has prepared them for the rocky road in March and potentially April.

  • @HighEliteMajor No question, a # 1 seed is preferable. I think the reason #1 seeds win the NC more often is twofold…they are good to begin with and the path is easier. I always want to get a #1 seed so we don’t have to PLAY a #1 seed until the final four. But, I think if we don’t get a #1, then we lump our chances, based on historical statistics in with the 2,3,4’s. One thing in our favor is that the non #1’s win for a reason. In our case, it would be because we are young and lost games early in the season. That is a legitimate reason for thinking that we could be one of the non #1s to win.

  • @HighEliteMajor as far as seeding goes, do you know our seeding stats and finishes in Selfs era? Also, go OU! Twitter says Embiid did hyperextend his knee, but practiced. Sounds like Tarik is still nursing ankle.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Enjoying the OU game too. Go, Lon, go!

  • @approxinfinity I want them both! We lost close games to them and played awful. Revenge!

  • @approxinfinity I think OU is tough, very good win for us!

  • @Crimsonorblue22 I guess Self does have a pretty good track record of revenge games. But in the case of the Florida and SDSt teams, I don’t get the fuzzies that we will have either team “solved”. At least not until our turnover problem is convicingly behind us.

  • @approxinfinity Of the two, I would rather play San Diego State. In that game, they did not handle the double team in the post very well at all, and then got beat on the rebounds by I think 13. That is not a recipe for a win.

  • @HighEliteMajor I think Self is playing bench just right. Plus, Greene, Conner and Lucas seem to be gaining confidence. Traylor continues to step up. I think we would have to have a really off night to lose a conference game. I’m crazy! Barring injuries!!! We are so deep! Need Tarik back.

  • @DinarHawk double teaming post killed us, now made us stronger!

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Very true. Alot of San Diego State fans talk about their win at KU, but I think that if they played in March, KU would win the rematch.

  • @DinarHawk Good point. And Skylar Spencer, who averages 5 ppg, scored 13 against us, and Naadir, Selden, and Ellis combined for 15 points That still worries me a little, considering we avg .510 FG% and we weren’t far off that % prior to the SDSU game either, and we shot .298 against them.

  • Excellent delineation and it distills to this.

    Conundrum: “Does coach Self coach to get better for March, possibly losing a game or two by playing with an eye on the prize? Or does coach Self simply coach to win every game on the premise that the #1 seed is the first, most important consideration in winning the title?”

    Self Solution: Do both.

    Self will keep splitting the difference in order to do both.

    First, Self will continue to create big games for different impact starters to grow their cojones. Frankly, I think Self is very calculating and methodical about this. Wayne gets two setups. Tharpe gets two set ups. Embiid gets two setups. Now Wiggins gets another after two early setups. Wiggins will probably be given a bunch of touches early against ISU’s banging ways to see if Andrew’s cojones have grown and hardened enough to go Kemba/Carmelo on the 'Clones yet this time. If he falters, Self will route the game through someone else better able to take the injury risk of bang ball, rather than lose the cojones-enlargement entirely of the TCU set up.

    Self used ridiculously big minutes for Andrew versus pitiful TCU to beef up Wiggins’ numbers probably to keep the brain trust and Adidas marketers happy on the one hand, and also to let Andrew raise the bar for himself. Notice Self said something close to, “He ought to be playing that way every game” afterwards. Self has tried raising the bar for him to become a Kemba/Carmelo without success, so against a nothing opponent he let Andrew raise his own bar, something he has struggled some to do against the good teams. Even super stars need confidence injections at times.

    Self has clearly sent Perry Ellis into the toughening box starting two games ago. This is not going to be fun for Perry at all. But he will come out hardened steel as sure as god makes little green apples ripen. You don’t put Perry Ellis in the toughening box if you are not willing to take at least a slim risk of an L. But Self is trying to get the Ws and develop the saplings. Self is a both guy. So Self may let up a hair on Perry for ISU, but the next weak team, oh, pity, poor Perry. Toughening box again.

    What about Embiid? Self can’t really count on any wins with this team without Joel carrying some bricks up the ladder. Self does not really have to put Joel in a toughening box either, because opponents are beating the living shizz out of him physically and he is fighting back and feisty and getting better still. It also sounds like Self went off all over Joel before the season ever started, and that Joel may have gotten his time in the toughening box back before the games started. Joel’s likely in-season time in the toughening box will not come till next season. Joel should come back just for that! 🙂

    Where you really Self doing both, though, is with his back-up bigs and his backup trifectates.

    Self keeps playing his backup bigs no matter what, no matter how the first half goes, because it buys his starters fresh legs with ten to go; that is going for a W if ever there was such a thing as playing to ensure a W. Two backup bigs get 10-15 mpg come hell or high water now. Get the W. Get better. Both!

    The three trifectates–Greene, Frankamp and White–are the most brutal approach to BOTH! Each guy each game gets called one at a time to lay his green manhood out for all to see. If the first guy gets 15 the second guy gets 5, and the third gets 0. if the first guy gets 10, the second guy may 7 and the third guy gets 0. If the first guy bombs, the second guy gets a shot. Any mistakes and all and the next guy gets a look. Good play, or mistakes aside, anyone who shows anything but an upward trend line starts losing minutes and the third guy starts getting a short look. Getting better is allowed. Maintaining is not allowed. Maintain and you get fewer minutes. The combined effect is that the sapling trifectates are not allowed to make enough mistakes to imperil getting a W, but at the same time they are getting cruelly intolerant course in getting better. Self gets the W and Self gets 2 of 3 trifectates getting a littler better all the time. It is painful to watch. It is grindingly slow. But by March, two will be able to do a certain minimum role and flush treys for the task master on demand without making TOs. Get the W. Get better. Both.

    Self is walking a tight rope between playing for the Number 1 seed, which he is always queer for (because he knows the numbers you have presented here), and playing for a developed team with a Kemba/Carmelo named Andrew.

    Either way it breaks, he is putting KU in position for a ring.

    Bill Self eats both for breakfast.

    Bill Self eats both for lunch and dinner.

    Both is his co-pilot.

    Both is his mantra.

    Both is his prayer.

    Never position for one, or the other, when you can position for both.

    A man is born with a pair–with both.

    He plays with both.

    He gambles with both.

    He wins and loses with both.

    But mostly he wins.

    Rock Chalk!

  • @jaybate 1.0 I personally think that Self should go with a developed team that may not get a #1 seed but has a Kemba type player in Andrew Wiggins. To me, that type of team is one that I think has the best chance to earn Self’s third final four appearance.

  • Off topic, just saw on sports from Wichita station, an interview from Milton Doyle. I forgot about him! He plays for Loyola, who WSU plays next. Some pretty impressive hi lights from him.

  • I’m guess my mind doesn’t function as fast as some of you guys on here. I’m constantly amazed at the analysis and insight shown of the game. I guess I’m what Bill O’Reilly calls a “simple guy.” I just enjoy watching the game and the abilities of the players. But then I enjoy reading all the in-depth comments afterwards.

    And congrats to OU on a big win over OSU tonight. Did anyone else see the elbow Smart threw during the last 20 seconds? Was it nothing or should it have been whistled. To me it was more than the one he fooled the refs on against KU. (beer)

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Imagine how useful Milton Doyle would be about now. It is striking how many of these players that sign with Self and then depart for greener pastures (less competition) would have fit in well had they just been patient.

  • @brooksmd I saw it, sounded like they just wanted to finish game. I can’t understand what needs to be done to review it!

  • @jaybate 1.0 I still can’t believe I forgot about him. Maybe he can help give WSU their first lost! I have no idea how good their team is, but I’m going to check it out.

  • @brooksmd-It may be like was mentioned afore, that the refs just wanted to finish the game, but he surely flailed an elbow at Hield or whoever it was that fouled him. I’ve seen OSU play several times this year & Smart, Clark, & Nash have all had their share of run ins with the opponents & the refs. And these refs talk & exchange notes on games, teams, & players. I watched most of that game tonight & thought the refs somewhat challenged those 3 guys in particular whenever their chipiness came to light. Smart didn’t get all the calls like he did in AFH, when he hit the floor every single chance he could & he tried several times tonight. So, I don’t know, but maybe their reputation is finally catching up with them. I personally thought Clark should be ejected in Lawrence for pushing Wayne after the play where he & Joel fouled the OSU guy that was on the floor, long after the play was dead. And Nash whined every single time he fouled tonight (count em all 5) as he did at AFH. Forte again blistered a defense with 3 balls, but the rest of the team was fair at best, & OU’s Spangler was the windex man of the night with about 17-18 boards. OSU just flat got out played. All the pissing & moaning OSU could get away with, didn’t change the fact that whenever OU need to convert, they did. I’ve nothing personal at all against any of the OSU players, the school, Boone Pickens, none of them. But I can’ & never could stand that pipsqueak of a coach Ford, & that goes all the way back to when he played in misery before transferring to Kentucky. He was a wiseass then & even bigger one now. And I tihnk the team as a group, shows or exemplifies the demeanor of the head coach. Maybe I’m way off base here, but that’s just my opinion.

  • @globaljaybird I agree! It seems like it is taking them a long time to figure that they way they are playing (flopping, complaining, thugging etc) is not working. They have some talent for sure, I’d like to think it does reflect the coaching. I’m just praying Forte doesn’t kill us again, their small points always hit lights out, and out hustle us.

  • @globaljaybird, the moment OSU lost Cobbins they had to start being tricksters to have any chance at all.

    Ford can be annoying for sure.

    But without Cobbins he has no choice but smoke and mirrors.

    Nash seems the most danging indictment of Ford. Nash should be a great one. But he has not developed much for Ford.

    Smart seems to be playing like someone that took a big gamble and lost. He is scrambling desperately. But he knows on some level he is sunk. Last season’s confidence is this season’s hollow swagger.

    But OSU is still dangerous because of Brown, who has kept getting better.

    The B12 is very tough to bluff through with a pair. Gotta have a full house.

  • @globaljaybird “windex man” was Spangler, that is for certain. He was a real stud last night. Travis Ford got Krugered. Smart’s frustrations appear to stretch on and on and on. Without the lethal 3 of Forte, OSU would have absolutely dissolved by the final countdown. Nash’s whinings, Clark’s over-bold feistiness and Smart’s desperate borderline physicality were on full display for league coaches to pattern schematics. If Ford can’t or won’t settle them down, his squad tilts near precipice of falling into the cistern with Drew’s Failor Bears.

  • @approxinfinity If I could see one of those 5, it would undoubtedly be Wichita St. I agree with you on SDSU and Florida. Two very, very good teams. But I think we’d do better the second time around. I’d be confident playing either of them tomorrow. If we end up as a #1, Florida or SDSU could be a #2.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 @jaybate regarding KU’s bench and how Self is handling it, I’m all about results. I see Greene playing more confidently. That’s the most important thing to me when I consider having a player ready for a pressure situation in March. Maybe Greene has a little bit of a “who cares” attitude – which is good. He isn’t shy right now with his shot. So while I’d like to see Greene get double digit minutes each game, so long as he is confident, appears to be acclimating to the speed of the game, doesn’t appear overwhelmed, and his shot isn’t rusty, I’m good.

    Seeing Greene handle the ball, take it to the rack, and dish to Ellis last game, seemed like a big deal … same with his confident 3 ball stroke. Quite an asset off the bench.

    Oh, and as for Milton Doyle … do we really think that he would even be playing at this point? Who would not be on our roster had we kept Mr. Doyle? ---- Mickelson? Black? He would have added to our crowded perimeter. Seems like his Loyola is the perfect type of school for Doyle to highlight his talents. Doyle may have been an impact in future years had he perhaps stayed and redshirted. Such is the choice for many of these guys.

  • @HighEliteMajor thanks for mentioning Greene’s assist to Ellis after pushing the ball and driving to the hoop. I was impressed.

    It looks like that’s part of the plan now: Selden brought the ball up some as well. Maybe Self wants to get across half court faster and give the defense less time to set up, so he’s saying “if you have the ball, push it.” Maybe Embiid thought that meant him too 🙂

    I like the idea, since it gives the defense less time to set up the press and less time to transition to half court defense. Sort of an embryonic secondary break.

    By the way, can anyone recall exactly why Self doesn’t like the secondary break? If he thinks it’s too turnover prone, that’s not an argument anymore…

  • @HighEliteMajor, I was never quite as pessimistic about Doyle as you, but that matters little here. I certainly did not see him as a huge add. I viewed him similarly to adding Tharpe and Mason, only longer, and clouded in the haze of Isaiah Thomas’ shenanigans. And in any case, Tharpe (whom I have always found suspect defensively) and Towson-bound Mason (who most found suspect before he started playing at KU) have sort of put the lie to the idea that Self cannot mask low rated PGs and still play winning ball with a monster roster to go with them. So: boy, would it be nice to have a ball handling sophomore 6-4 PG/2, albeit with some limitations requiring masking similar to Tharpe and Mason, able to come off the bench to matchup with long PGs and 2s like Nova, OSU, Colorado, etc. Not necessary. Just another helpful piece in the puzzle.

  • @jaybate 1.0 Maybe, if Doyle had stayed, Mason would have made a different decision … and Doyle would have been the backup PG? That is certainly a possibility. I was more pessimistic on Doyle based on roster numbers, and, of course, ranking. I remain curious as to what Adams role would have been if he had stayed. He and Doyle fit that long mold you refer to

  • @HighEliteMajor

    “If #2 seeds are as good as #1s…” The thing with seeding is that really, there is a pretty clear separation on each seeding level. For instance, the best 2 seed could probably switch places with the weakest #1. However, the third best 2 seed is usually not nearly good enough to be a #1. The second best 4 isn’t good enough to be a 3 most likely, and so on.

    That matters for one seeds because, most likely, the number one seeds are four of the best six teams in the country. Chances that one of the best six teams in the tournament wins in a single elimination set up are actually pretty good, especially given that no 16 seed has EVER beaten a 1, so #1s are really playing in a 32 team tournament while everyone else is playing in a 64 team field (ignoring the play-in games). That is an enormous advantage.

    The other thing that hurts 2 seeds is that they are much closer to the rest of the field than the 1 seeds. For example, you can look at some of the incredibly dominant teams of the last 25 years - UNLV in 1990, Duke in 1992, Arkansas in 1994, Kentucky in 1998, UConn in 2004, Florida in 2007, the entire 2008 Final Four, Louisville last year, Kentucky the year before - those teams were truly elite and separated themselves from the field. The teams in the tournament are on more of a continuum than just a straight ranking. The five or six best teams in the field are usually quite a bit better than anyone else in the field. Being quite a bit better means you don’t have to play six perfect games to win the title. You just have to play solid to get into the Final Four. The best 2s and 3s have to play at the top of their game (or very close) because the 4s, 5s and 6s aren’t really all that much worse than they are, and if a 6 plays over their head, they can knock off a 2 or 3 (and often do).

  • @jaybate 1.0-As I observed Nash last evening I thought exactly the same, that he does not to appear as improved as was projected when he arrived at OSU. Some thought he was OAD & now I’ve doubts if he will play in the L at all.

    Also great perspective on Smart as a failed gambler-again partly due to shortcomings with the staff on just how to help him to the next level. He is a great physical athlete for sure, but rying to “sell” the goods won’t work with no experience from the casting couch or real auditions with the producers. His immaturity is shining with increased frustration more & more all the while. The Academy Awards will simply have to be on his long range list of goals because at present he’s convincing no one.

    Plus you’re 100% accurate on Cobbins injury report. They don’t have much of a shot without his journeyman like contributions & physical prowess, rebounds, & shot blocking in the paint. Also I mentioned to @HighEliteMajor before the matchup with OSU last week that perimeter defense vs Brown & Forte would be the keys if they had a prayer at AFH, & sure enough we got torched by those two. I don’t recall many kids that catch & shoot as well as Forte, from the distances he knocks them down. Geeeze louise-what a marksman! He may be the best assassin in all of CBB. If anyone’s better, I sure hope he’s a Jayhawk.

  • @globaljaybird Yes, to all, and about Forte, I had forgotten what a dead eye he was. The guy can gun.

  • @jaybate 1.0 and don’t forget Page, those 2 little guys always killed us!

  • @justanotherfan, you have just rocked my statistical thinking about the tournament structure to its stochastic foundations. This is just a fascinating insight you have shared; i.e., the one seeds are essentially playing in a 32 team tournament. It made my mind race to this: would you say this logic would also apply to the tournament back in the 32 team era? And the 16 team era (if that were what it were early)?

    If the logic were linear and sound, then in a 32 team tournament, the 1 seeds would have been playing in a 16 team tournament and in a 16 team tournament the one seeds would have been playing in only an 8 them tournament!!

    Perhaps the issue you have raised explains even more clearly why some of the accomplishments of the earlier eras are not duplicated.

    Thinking about this leads into some dense thickets of trying to distinguish between randomize probabilities and biases from hot streaks that I am not able to unsnag yet.

    Simpistically, the smaller the effective tournament, the greater the probability of each team winning it.

    But if one introduces the bias of hot streaks, then as the effective tournament grows smaller, then the probability of any single one seed getting on a hot streak goes up, but so does the probability of any lesser seed, too.

    Perhaps the small size of tournaments in earlier eras triggered even MORE volatility in what could happen, given the bias of hot streaks, or perhaps not. Can’t clarify on this yet.

    In an effective 8, or effective 16 tournament, each one seed only had to stay hot for a much shorter number of games and so perhaps every one seed was even more vulnerable to other one seeds, but also other lower seeds getting hot!

    Maybe the larger tournament size of today and more games to win makes it less likely for any particular one seed to win it, but makes it MORE likely for the group of one seed to win it.

    Maybe Wooden’s 10 rings are even more remarkable in retrospect, because perhaps in the earlier smaller tournaments, there was more intrinsic volatility. Maybe he learned how to manage that volatility with the style he played, not just with talent. I don’t know. I’m guessing out loud here.

    Any one seed could get hot and win two, or four games in a row, whereas in today’s larger tournaments, with more games, it is more likely to be the deepest, most talented team that tends to win it.

    Maybe in an effective 8, or effective 16 team tournament, UK’s 2012 team would have faced more risk from a lesser team only having to get hot and win fewer games?!

    This is fascinating IMHO. Thanks for weighing in.

  • @jaybate 1.0-Only one right now, but the guy that comes to mind for me comparable to Forte is Steve Kerr. He rifled the path to the NBA Championship several times with Jordan’s Bulls. Forte is every bit that deadly of a sniper. Wouldn’t surprise me one iota if he has a long career in pro ball. His height may limit him to Europe, but he’ll make a good living if he desires. Didn’t Self offer him also?

  • @globaljaybird wasn’t he a pkg w/smart? Fortes dad played fb at KU. I thought he wanted to come here, but wasn’t offered???

  • “Does coach Self coach to get better for March, possibly losing a game or two by playing with an eye on the prize? Or does coach Self simply coach to win every game on the premise that the #1 seed is the first, most important consideration in winning the title?”

    Let’s not forget, Coach Self first values winning the B12. He is going to do whatever he can to win league games now. That comes first.

    I think he wants to give some minutes to Greene, but he’ll still keep Selden in receiving most of the minutes because Selden will be his main gun at the 2 going into March. If Selden also wasn’t a freshman I think he could be more liberal with minutes going to others, but Selden isn’t exactly the Rock of Gibraltar yet in his play. His confidence is increasing, but he still isn’t anywhere close to his potential for his first year in college. Self wants him to still play at a higher level and also play with more consistency. Selden’s play sometimes is at an all star level and other times he completely breaks down with TOs and uninspired play. When Selden is on, we are going to win, I don’t care who we are playing.

    I don’t think Self wants to lose anymore games. First, he wants to sew up the league for #10. Second… because of our tough pre-conf schedule, he wants to build wins from here on out to help build team confidence.

    Think back a few days ago to the TCU game. He could have subbed even more in that game, but even at the end he risked a banged-up Embiid. Self was going for the beat down. He wants these guys now to feel the rewards for all their efforts in the gym.

    Self is out to win every game from here on out, and he’d like us to start racking up some mash victories. I don’t think it is so much about seeding in March… I think it is about building team confidence moving forward. Building team confidence is a strategy now to help them play better. We’ve already dropped 4 tough games including 1 at home!

    Think of our season as a cycle, and we are all about peaking at the right time (March)… so we started the year hot, with energy and optimism… then we were handed our lunch by several teams, including one in AFH. That represents the dip we need to have in order to recover and shoot upwards. We are now on the upswing cycle, and we don’t need to go down again as long as we continue to make big gains upwards.

    Teams like Syracuse have peaked too early. Probably the best thing that could happen to them is they lose immediately at least a couple, so there is time to build momentum again.

    We still might need another loss or two before March. It is hard to say. But I think we all know that it is hard to improve drastically when you’ve done nothing but win up until now. What motivation do you have for improving?

    March Madness is never about discovering the best team for the entire year. It is about discovering the best team in March! That’s why I put so much weight on winning #10 in the B12… because it represents the entirety of league play, not just about getting hot for 6 games.

    We all need to focus on what it is going to take to peak in March. Even if we win out from here, it isn’t 100% that we snag a #1 seed, and that is a good thing! That means we have to stay hungry! That means we have to fight to get better every single day in practice and in games.

    We are sitting in a great spot for March. I am so glad we aren’t undefeated! That is a horrible feeling to peak too soon, and watch all the hype and dreams go down the tubes because the top teams in college basketball catch up in March.

  • @Crimsonorblue22-Fran said last evening that Smart wanted to play with Forte. I just don’t recall if Self offered him or just was a passive recruitment.

  • @HighEliteMajor I enjoyed this article. I’m not an x’s and o’s guy like you and some others, so this is what appeals to me.

    A few questions. Of the #1 seeds with 6 or more losses, how many of them won?

    How many of those were KU teams?

    How many of the 6 or more loss teams seeded first suffered from ugly early round losses?

    It is interesting as you pointed out how the road was paved with top seeds being knocked out on our way to the '88 championship.

  • @drgnslayr-It’s a double edge sword with Bill. Beatdowns not only mean confidence but the seeding committee looks at the road wins as much as home losses, especially during conf, when everyone on the planet gets as way up as humanly possible for KU. We get their best shot always. The loss to SDSU may be the hole card for the # 1 this year, & as HEM’s reliable stats bear out, is characteristic of the increased % chances to win the proverbial fur-lined pot in April. Should we loose more than 2 conf games, that may be the nullification of that possibility. It’s going to be a witch in Texas, Stillwater, & the little (road) apple. And ISU at home is not a cup cake either. JMO

  • @globaljaybird

    It is hard to say… but I think we can lose one more game here on out and still earn a 1-seed, but who knows? It also depends on the teams ahead of us. Take WSU… if they win out, they will own a 1-seed and they will be taking that 1-seed away from a power conference… but from which power conference?

    As far as the seeding committee… I think they look at over-all record, SOS and key victories and losses the most. Our big advantage is that we haven’t suffered a beat down from anyone, and our losses have come from quality opponents. We have several quality wins… Duke on a neutral, ISU away… and hopefully we will win in Stillwater and at Texas. For some reason, I think Texas is the most-capable team of pinning a loss on us this year in the B12. Barnes does his best work when his team is a creeper.

    BTW: I’m feeling like we are way too comfortable with this idea that we’ve already sewn up #10. We are in a great position, but that totally changes with a couple of poor performances. I’d like to see this team win out in conference. It would tell me that they are fighting the fight for consistent play from here on out… a trait we want to have in March!

    So much has happened in the past couple of weeks… and hasn’t received enough media attention. We’ve made the biggest leap in January of any team in the nation. Our guys finally gelled as a team… they do everything outside of the court together. That is huge news. We have made big steps in improving our defense, and for the first time we are actually running a real offense… which helps showcase the talent of all our guys. This is night and day difference from December. I’m close to bumping these guys up to WARMER WARMER WARMER. If we can reach HOT HOT HOT I’d be willing to mortgage my house on another NC!

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  • @globaljaybird

    My recollection is the same as @Crimsonorblue22. KU pursued Smart but not Forte whose father had played FB at KU; Forte was not ranked, out of HS, at the level that KU offers. OSU offered to both and that is where they ended up.

  • Wichita State and Arizona have the best chance of going unbeaten since both (particularly WSU) play in weaker conferences. One loss by WSU and any chance to a #1 seed they might currently have is gone; a KU team with 6 losses would be seeded ahead of them.

    KU, Syracuse. Arizona and WSU are currently #1 seeds in the majority of current “Bracketology” projections; however, given the unpredictability of conference play, it is likely that the current seeds are precarious at best.

  • @drgnslayr I agree with you about how teams like Syracuse and Arizona are peaking early. Both of those teams are certainly not guaranteed to make it to the Final Four, despite what some sports pundits might say. Often times, the teams that suffer some losses and stay off the radar but make a surge late in the season are the ones that make it to the final four. Take last year for example. Syracuse and Michigan were both ranked very high early in the season but had several losses in conference play that kept them out of the spotlight. It was the same thing in '12 when KU was not widely talked about and yet went to the championship game with a team that had zero depth. That was probably my favorite team since following KU basketball.

  • @jaybate 1.0 “But OSU is still dangerous because of Brown, who has kept getting better.”

    And don’t forget the short white dude who, according to has THE highest offensive rating in the nation. Yes, NATION. Forte is the hottest 3 point shooter in the country and one of the best free throw shooters as well.

  • Gosh that Forte kid can shoot! Those deep 3s look more like lob passes that somehow swish through the bottom of the nets.

    Smart is too much in his own little world. It helped that he apologized for becoming such a burden to his teammates. Now if he can just live up to that challenge. He’s too focused on his own importance. I respect when a player wants the ball in crunch time, but he is over the top and believes it is HIS game to lose or to win. With that attitude, OSU has no chance of doing much of anything this year. I’m not sure if they can even snag 2nd place in the B12.

    Compare his attitude with Wiggins.

  • @drgnslayr

    Looks like the refs are finally catching up with Smart’s flopping and he is acting like a drama queen about it; he has been in foul trouble in both games after the KU game of “ghost elbow flop” fame. Even with the game out of reach against OU, he felt he had to do one last dramatic flop with seconds left in the game; it looked desperate and pathetic.

    Smart is quickly developing a reputation as a flopper and becoming one of the more disliked players in the league. Analyst still like him because they do not see his behavior day in and day out like we, conference followers do.

    Marcus Smart reminds me of Mike Tyson. At one time he was considered pound for pound the best boxer in the world, a rarity for heavy weight, and fighters were terrified of him, Then along came Buster Douglas that was no intimidated and knocked him out in Tokyo and exposed him as a very beatable boxer; Tyson was never the same after that fight and lost his last two fights to two unknowns before retiring for good.

  • @JayHawkFanToo It’s funny, at the end of last season and especially at the beginning of this season, when Smart returned to OSU instead of opting for the NBA, I had a lot of respect for him. After watching his antics this season I just think he’s a punk.

    The only player in my life that I thought he should have went pro instead of staying another year or two.

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