Long Bench, Slow Tempo and No-AMP: Sweet 16 or Elite Eight?

  • Purdue is good.

    KU is going to get another dose of B10 Bang Ball in the Sweet 16 vs. Purdue in the first game of the 2 in 3 format.

    Bang Ball will be a drain KU for the Elite Eight game, if KU makes it.

    Thus, Self faces some choices related to the two in three format.

    Self tends to long bench, slow tempo, and no-amp the lesser of the 2 opponents in 3 days.

    Other coaches have copied Self increasingly.

    The idea is to match your better effort to the better team, and try to find a way to squeak by the lesser team.

    The choice is usually clear, but not for the faint hearted to make.

    As I said, Purdue is good. As experienced as we are. NOT a good match up. Big, strong scorers and boarders inside that challenge our size and questionable depth inside. Shooters as good as ours outside. They like physical half court play. We like our athleticism weaving and chopping in half court and squirting in transition.

    If ever their were a game we needed to transition, guard hard, shoot well and amp up, this seems like one.


    There is a better team coming two days later.

    Thus no amp for Purdue.

    Thus only a few squirts of transition.

    Thus shorten the game the first 30 and lengthen the bench inside especially the first half and some the second half.

    KU could definitely lose to Purdue playing this way.

    But if KU doesnt, KU’s shooting legs will give out the second game even to an opponent less good than Purdue.

    The gamble is Painter will let us do the above and do the same thing, since his team will desperately need its shooting legs the second game to and Purdue favors a slower pace.

    But Painter may go balls to walls because KU will be the better of the two teams Purdue would face.

    And so Self and KU may have to prepare for both. KU may start out trying to shorten the first 30, to save the energy budget for game 2. But if Painter let’s it all hang out, KU may have to shift in all out mode: short bench, up tempo, and Self becoming explosive in the huddle and sidelines for an in game amp.

    I haven’t studied the likely second game opponents, but Self and his JSOC team are going to need all their wiles and nerve to get through this weekend.

    And then some.

  • Beat Purdue and worry about the rest later. It doesn’t matter if you can’t beat Purdue.

  • @BShark

    It would be easier, if that were so.

    But Self plays all two game sets to win both and so he tends to fudge one game, or the other.

    If KU goes all out for 40 vs. Purdue with 6 or 7 guys in an 80 point game it should easily win.

    But it’s shooting legs will be gone the last ten minutes of each half of the elite eight game.

    KU beats long, talented teams with lots of chopping in half court, the long ball, lots of transition, and intense pressure defense. Take away any of those and KU can quickly default to the team WVU ran out of the gym.

    The elite eight team will require all of the above, unless they have to leave it all on the floor for the 16. And the elite eight opponent will likely be deeper…

    For KU To leave it all on the floor vs Purdue almost guaranties a loss the next game.

    But I don’t know if this team can sand bag Purdue and win. IF WE GET BEHIND PURDUE THEIR COMBO OF BANG BALL AND INSIDE OUT PLAY COULD SPELL CURTAINS.

    This is when even Self is between a rock and a hard place.

    It’s also when he is often at his most clever

    He left it on the floor vs UNC in 2008 semis the first half, and defended the lead and conserved the second half, so his team had something left for Memphis. He might try THAT again.

    It is going to be thrilling to watch what hat rabbit he pulls out.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    We shouldn’t be thinking too far ahead. One game at a time

    I do think about making it to the FF having won three games in a row against the B10 “mug ball” style. So will we have a struggle toning our game back down to less contact? Foul trouble?

    But first things first… let’s knock out Purdue!

    I like how our guys thrive on mug ball now. They aren’t backing down from anyone! Big plus!

  • @drgnslayr


    Players think one game.

    But coaches think two.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Basketball is a strange game. Part checkers, part chess.

    Coaches can get into trouble if they think too much with either philosophy. They have to look at moves ahead, but not too far ahead and must still focus on the current game.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    I paid for most of my beer in college by shooting pool with players that kept thinking about the next shot instead of the one at hand. Before they shot I would often say…you have an easy shot but how about the next?..worked every time.

  • @JayHawkFanToo great analogy. Can’t save anything for a game that we aren’t guaranteed to play in. Our guys will be ok.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    When I was in high school we made it to the state semifinals my senior year. Also in the semis was the team that had beaten us in the finals the previous year. Both teams were angling for the finals rematch, but first, we both had to handle our business in the semis.

    We played the early game, pulled away late and won our game by double digits.

    They played the late game. They were sitting in the stands during our game “scouting” us. They should have won easily (they were the top seed and I think had already beaten this opponent earlier in the regular season by double digits). The lost.

    All of that scouting and preparation they did for us was worthless because they lost to a team they handled easily earlier in the year. They played for third the next day. We won the title.

    The point is this. Anybody still playing right now is good enough to beat you if you get ahead of yourself. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be here. KU has to focus 100% on dealing with Swanigan, Haas and Purdue’s shooters, because if they don’t, winning two games this weekend will not be an issue that this team will ever get to confront.

    Win the game in front of you. Saturday can take care of itself when it gets here.

  • "I paid for most of my beer in college by shooting pool with players that kept thinking about the next shot instead of the one at hand. " @JayHawkFanToo

    Funny, I paid for a big chunk of my tuition and books playing guys like you. I used to lie to them and I only think about this shot. I’m not good enough to plan ahead. Howling!

  • @justanotherfan said:

    The point is this. Anybody still playing right now is good enough to beat you if you get ahead of yourself.

    Nope, the point is anybody still playing that can’t plan out how to win it all doesn’t.

    Almost the worst thing anyone can do is frig their time away trying to stay in the moment.

    There is only one brief time when you want to be in the moment of a basketball game. That is once the tip starts.

    Every great leader, general, CEO, and Coach I ever met was among the most compulsive planners, tireless strategizes, and wily devils of all my acquaintances.

    Where you get the notion that you shouldn’t be planning ten moves ahead astounds me.

    Players play in the moment.

    Great coaches plan every season out long before it even starts.

    One of the reasons fans used to get so upset with Self is because they did not understand that he planned the season and planned the next six to ten games in a hundred times the detail the fans use talking about a game even AFTER its been played.

    What ever book lead you to believe you don’t want to get ahead of yourself as a coach, CEO, General, or any other capacity of leadership, demand your money back!!!

  • @jaybate-1.0 Funny title, as this KU team plays fast. We seemed to be in a B1G type grinder against MichSt, but then when Frank took total control in the last 3:30, and tried to milk clock–>KU blows the game into a blowout win? What a paradox.

    So, Matt Painter’s dilemma: you cant run with KU. But then look when you try to slow KU down…Frank kills you with his vet team’s deftly-executed half-court sets.

    Whats a good man like Matt Painter to do?

  • @jaybate-1.0

    You’re planning to win the whole thing, of course. You put together the team with the focus on getting to March. You work out in October planning to be the only team standing when the confetti rains down that first Monday in April.

    But you have to play the games one at a time.

    Great leaders manage both. You have to think macro, but act in the micro. Yes, the idea is to win the whole thing, but you can’t gameplan for the confetti until you beat Purdue, then Oregon or Michigan, then (UNC/Butler/UCLA/UK), then finally whoever emerges from that other side of the bracket.

    As of right now, you have all of your resources available for both Thursday and Saturday. You will know before you play Purdue whether you get Oregon (somewhat shorthanded) or Michigan (amped up, but not necessarily a great team overall). The best gameplan is to blitz Purdue early so you don’t have to grind against Swanigan and Co., potentially leaving our front line banged up with a short turnaround.

    But if you can’t blitz Purdue quickly, you still have to be sure to win. Yes, the assistants have already started working on a potential Michigan gameplan and a potential Oregon gameplan. Jeremy Case and the video team have already put together the clips and the assistants have already done their initial review. I’m sure Case has already done his cuts through Oregon’s win and Louisville’s win in the round of 32, and he may have even already talked to whichever assistant is responsible for that pregame about what he has seen, gotten their feedback, etc.

    But I would bet they haven’t spent any shootaround time on anyone other than Purdue. Self has probably been briefed on Saturday’s potential opponents, but his focus has been fully on Purdue.

    Once that Purdue game is over, because the early prep work has already been done on both Michigan and Oregon, the gameplan will probably be done within an hour of the finish of the KU-Purdue game (since we have the late game). At that point, Self will work with Case and whichever assistant has done the prep work to finalize the gameplan. At Friday’s shootaround they will put everything in and then review Saturday morning before the game.

    Self probably stopped looking at anything other than Purdue stuff sometime Monday or yesterday at the latest to make sure he focuses on the details of Purdue. The assistants responsible for Michigan and Oregon will probably stop looking at that stuff today so that tomorrow’s shootaround is all about Purdue.

    The only focus tomorrow will be Purdue. You do the homework early so that everyone is entirely focused on Purdue from the time they wake up until that game is over.

  • @justanotherfan Well, and as the announcers kept pointing out about BOTH KU games so far, is KU never took its foot off the throttle.

    We’ve always, always wanted our guys to just give us a complete game…2 full halves…and they have. To butcher MichSt in the last 3 min like that…man! What tired legs? How many mpg? Frank & Josh know none of that matters.

    For the byline worriers: FM3 has no known injury. JJ shows zero effects of sprained ankle from 2wks ago. DG shows no ill effects of his sprained ankle in the win at OkieSt. Landon’s stats havent sufferred so far. Coleby’s looking better & better physically speaking. Able to physically do what his instincts direct him to. Svi and Vick and Braggster have NO known injury.

  • @justanotherfan

    Again, give the book back that says you don’t think ahead 😄

  • @justanotherfan Well, here’s input from perhaps the weakest Xs and Os contributor on this thread. First ten minutes, roar down the throat of the Boilermakers. Then hope to back off with Colby, praying that Swanigan and the trees are shackled with fouls. Open the second period with another 8 minute push, then try to hang on for the win, playing whatever bench available and effective as much as possible. Attempt to rest the starters whenever. Labor to get 4 fouls on Swanigan before the final 4 minutes.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Full bore…locked and loaded. 125% effort. The best team we’ll play until we reach the Final Four is Purdue. All hands on deck.

  • Josh likely eating up the “chessmatch” (coach’s gameplan) side of game prep. The kid gets it. And he is a willing & supremely confident participant. Frank finally gets his help. And because of the dynamism added, the sum of this KU team is greater than its parts.

    If we dont beat Purdue, its not because of lack of focus, or no “gamers/ptp’ers”, or injuries. Nope, it would purely be a twist of Fate. We have everything we are going to have. A little luck/fate on our side would be nice. (To counterbalance the refs, of course…)

  • @ et al

    The reason KU looked so good last weekend was they had serval days rest. They played better defense than they have in the last two months. Their perimeter defense actually looked like Bill self defense. Can they keep that up two games in a row playing seven deep leaving it all on the floor against Purdue? I think they have to shorten one of the two games. I think it will be Purdue . I think they will try to run for five minutes, and then grind for the next 25 minutes I don’t know Painter well enough to know what he will do. If I were him, I would make us run for 40 minutes, no matter how far ahead we got for brief stretches. Run for you and match them 343 and they will have to keep playing they’re top seven. Hey you stop hitting threes with 10 to go, because of tired legs. It’s Perdues best chance. And if to you shirts 30% from three as they are likely to do, Purdue walks out with a W . Unless self pulls out a hat rabbit. Best way for KU to win is foul up the Purdue big man and out rebound them

  • @jaybate-1.0

    First, you must have shot pool with chumps; you can see a hustler a mile away and you play accordingly.

    Second, you are trying to apply a business principle that does not apply. In business you have to plan well ahead because if something does not work out you move to the next option or you create a flow chart where any decision has multiple outcomes and you navigate accordingly; it is called Dynamic Programing and it is part of any Operations Research Program, Likewise, coaches plan the entire schedule because they WILL play all these games. The soccer World Cup is this way because when you start you play in a a group stage of four teams and play 3 games and the top 2 teams of the 8 groups advance to what is called the knock out stage teams which becomes single elimination. You can lose in the group stage and still advance but the knockout stage is like the NCAA, i.e. you lose, you go home.

    The NCAA Tournament is unique because if you lose one game you don’t need to plan any further because you are going home. All the future planning in the world will not do you any good if you do not win the game at hand.

    I am sure KU has staff that visits and deals on potential future games and gathers scouting information, game film and such ahead of time, but there is no way they will let the team think about anything other than the game at hand. As other have pointed out any team left is capable of beating any other team, I am sure Villanova, Duke, Louisville and other teams will vouch for this, and keep in mind that Purdue is the team that beat ISU…and ISU is the team that beat KU at AFH and ended the home winning streak. Thinking about the game after the one at hand is nuts, particularly when you will find out who you will be playing only 30 minutes before your own game.

    I am sure the KU teams that lost to Bucknell, Bradley, VCU, Northern Iowa among others would tell you to concentrate on the game at hand.

  • The only game KU has right now that I am aware of is Purdue. The ONLY thing we should focus on is winning that game. Anything else is silly. They have to win this one to move on or else “what ifs” and all these theories and plans mean nothing. Win at all cost.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    I am not sure if they were chumps, but they did ask me your kind of question. Just sayin’.

    And I was hardly a hustler. I used to play with some hustlers in the summer time. Real hustlers are very hard to pick out. It’s kind of a mandatory requirement of the trade. If you’re easy to pick out, you’re not a real hustler,

  • The ONLY thing we should focus on is winning that game. Anything else is silly. –@HawkChamp

    This is why I am glad.Bill is our coach. Bill worries about both games and the Final Four and keeps the players focused on whatever he thinks needs doing in the game to win 2 games in 3 days. Fans wanting Bill to focus on one game could get us sideways quickly.

  • @jaybate-1.0 show me a quote that Bill prefers the method you described in a one and done tournament. Dont cite ceos, executives or other coaches - show me evidence that Bill does that.

    You say you are glad he is in charge - while he is no doubt a great coach, how many final fours has he been to in fourteen years? Just two. If he really is using the method you described, then he needs to drastically alter his approach.

    The advantage of this team is their speed and quickness. Trust me, we dont want a grind it out low scoring game with a really smart Purdue team - that could be dangerous. Speed up the tempo and get as many runouts as possible.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I don’t really care about saving legs, are you kidding? If you lose you are done, you bust your tail and hope you can get the win. The next team we face will have played a game just a few hours before we did. Save legs in January not march, unless we blow them out.

  • @HawkChamp agree, get the game won with 10 minutes to go and get the bench in asap and start resting the starters like jaybate is saying. Don’t try to win it with a deep three and risk it all!

  • @kjayhawks

    I am not sure why this is such a sticking point. You have to win six games, not one game, to win a ring. It does not do any good to try to just win one game, If the way you win means you can’t win the next game. It’s not much more complicated than that.

  • With the first-round opponent unknown until after UC Davis and North Carolina Central face each other on Wednesday, scouting has been different this week.

    Assistant coach Norm Roberts will concentrate on those two teams while staff members Kurtis Townsend and Jerrance Howard are focusing on possible second-round opponents Michigan State and Miami.

    It’s the same blueprint as if KU was playing in a holiday tournament.

    “If we played in Maui, for instance, I wouldn’t go to Maui just looking at the first opponent,” Self said. “I would spend early in the week looking at the second-round opponent and, as you get closer to the game, focus on the first opponent. The NCAA Tournament allows you to do that because each week is a two-game tournament.”

  • @jaybate-1.0 why would this team playing to its strengths not allow them to win on Saturday?

  • @HawkChamp

    Both Kansas and Purdue coaches should want a low possession game, so their teams will be fresh for the second game in three days. They should also want to substitute as much as possible and avoid injury. If a team finds itself unable to win any other way than playing balls to the wall’s, then it will play it all out. But since both coaches understand that conserving energy for the second game is in their mutual interest, regardless of who wins, there is a strategic tendency to play a low possession game if possible.

  • @HawkChamp

    When we play big brawny teams we like to transition quite bit–to strip and run, to disrupt. Athleticism burns energy. If we don’t sub a lot, or hold down the trips, we lose our shooting legs the second half of the second game.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Thank you dear. Appreciate the assist!!!

  • @Crimsonorblue22 two different things. Coach SHOULD evaluate the teams that we could face, but he should not try to change style or not play to his teams strengths,especially on purpose.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Not the same thing. In Maui, you have to plan ahead because you continue playing even if you lose, you just play for a lower final placement. In the NCAA, you lose and you go home.

    You are comparing apples and oranges.

  • @JayHawkFanToo just quoting self

  • Good thread by all. I didnt see tired legs in those last 4min of that grinder against MichSt, that same last 4min where we exploded a 8pt lead to a 20pt lead. Josh for a drive-by dunk. Frank for a blow-by layup, likely his quickest of the game (the one where the announcer said he “lulled TumTum to sleep”). And I saw KU go 3 for 3 (100%) from 3, with Devonte being the bomber pilot, and Frank the copilot (asst).

    That’s the sinister dagger this team has: closers!
    Purdue isnt in our league, literally, as they’ve never experienced US. This isnt Thomas Robinson’s Comeback Kids. It’s Frank’s 2.0Run. Scary from several positions. Frankenstein.

    So my son said Frank’s 20pts will cancel out Swanigans 20pts. Now that leaves the rest of KU’s team to the remainder of Purdue’s team: who would you bet on now? (Frankless KU or Swaniganless Purdue?)

  • I don’t have the URL handy, but I remember Self commenting on last weekend’s games:

    • Norm Roberts did the scouting report on the first game’s opponent

    • Snacks and Townsend did the scouting reports on the second game’s potential opponents

    • Self personally spent the first part of the week on the second game, then concentrated on the first game.

    The coaches plan ahead. The players don’t practice ahead - at least I have never heard of anything like that.

  • @ralster said:

    I didnt see tired legs in those last 4min of that grinder against MichSt,

    They looked fresh beginning to ending both games.

    The team went out early in the B12 tourney and the extra rest seemed to help them quite a lot.

    That advantage may lessen or disappear this week returning to the 2 in 3 routine each weekend.

    Painter has a tough choice.

    Slow it down to save his shooters legs for the last 10 minutes of both games to help his team win two, and face a killer KU team down the stretch with fresh legs.

    Or speed it up and substitute and hope to tire the shooting legs of a seven man team.

    Painter should start fast and see if KU blows cold after two 40% shooting games. If KU is cold, he should build a lead running for 10 minutes, then slow and defend it Self style.

    If KU were hot, run and sub until KU loses its shooting legs…if they do.

    KU wins if shooting well, loses if not.

    Purdues inside scoring gives them a chance to win even if they blow cold outside.

    Bottom line though is KU JUST HAS TO PLAY SOLID TO WIN, while Purdue needs to play its best.

    PURDUE needs an early lead to win.

    KU would like an early lead, but doesn’t have to have one.

    Both teams will stretch defenses to max.

    This is a fascinating matchup.

    Self needs to win AND play Vick, Coleby and Bragg a lot to maximize second game chances.

    Painter needs the same for his team.

    Sprint is our friend.

    Zebras could tip it.

    If they don’t allow bang Ball we are gold.

    If the don’t like Josh, we could turn to tin.

    But KU wins it.

  • @jaybate-1.0 said:


    I am not sure why this is such a sticking point. You have to win six games, not one game, to win a ring. It does not do any good to try to just win one game, If the way you win means you can’t win the next game. It’s not much more complicated than that.

    You can’t win the next game unless you get there. Your strategy will be fine for blowouts, but I don’t see any coach ever saying he is willing to risk this game so he wants his players to hold back in close games. If they slow down, it is solely to preserve energy to make it through this game.

    Baseball managers in extra inning games have been known to hold back ace relievers for a later inning, only to lose in an earlier one, but that is only due to the nature of the no-reinsertions format, and sudden death if the home team scores. Basketball is a timed game, and free substitutions allow coaches to prepare for late game necessities. No coach is going to hold back his best player in a tie game hoping he will be fresher for the next round.

    Then again, I bought my own beer in college, but never bought any for pool players.

  • Purdue is a nightmare match up for KU, team with great size and >40% trey shooting. Biggie is a double-double machine and they have solid guards who can shoot. KU has not faced such a team this year. Baylor come close but they shoot treys in mid 30s. KU will have to execute game plan flawlessly to win this game. I am scared on this one.

  • @AsadZ said:

    Purdue is a nightmare match up for KU, team with great size and >40% trey shooting. Biggie is a double-double machine and they have solid guards who can shoot. KU has not faced such a team this year. Baylor come close but they shoot treys in mid 30s. KU will have to execute game plan flawlessly to win this game. I am scared on this one.

    I was worried about this game the minute the bracket came out.

  • I worry about every game!

  • @mayjay

    Don’t believe me that the coaching staff tthinks ahead ?

    Don’t believe the coaches quotes that say they do?

    Having a little pre game belief issues, eh?

    Remember what Coach Self said when we were down against Memphis in 2008 and pissed off one entire axis of the petroshoeco-agency complex by beating their team of “ringers” for the national championship?


  • @jaybate-1.0 said:

    when we were down against Memphis in 2008

    We would have won the game in regulation easily if Self hadn’t been holding the seniors & Chalmers/Rush back to preserve their legs for the barnstorming tour and NBA tryouts.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    It is the worrying and fan focus, that make us all KU’s 16th man, or whatever!!

    I worry.

    Everyone does.

    We are not like many fan bases.

    We know our daddy.

    We know reality.

    The truth is not dead here in the basketball monestery on the shore of the sea of grass.

    If beauty walks a razor’s edge, truth walks a laser beam at a 1 micron setting here in basketball Shangri La, under the rain and reign of MSM lies TRYING to turn our culture to ZERO HOUR for a restart.

    Here. Now. Lawrence. Always.

    Under the center jump circle, far under Naismith court, the basketball grail rests, guarded, but always in peril.

    Rock Chalk!!!

  • @BigBad @AsadZ

    Don’t despair! See the stats I posted on the other thread (“Oh welp”). Remarkably similar between the two teams despite the contrast in team makeup.

  • @mayjay

    Now you are getting pitiful, brother @mayjay, like a hooked fish that cannot get free.

    Face it, coaches think more than one game at a time.

    Acceptance of truth will rejuvenate you.

    Oh and you left out the part about the apparent petroshoeco-agency complex’s team of ringers. Memphisto was playing ringers. That was documented, wasn’t it?

    KU beat a bunch of ringers!

    Or has the MSM in NY even rewritten that?

    Zero hour reset or bust!

    Yeeeeee hawwwwww, brother @mayjay, its good to be a mythical bird!!! Win or lose in the March Carney!!!

    Step right up, step right up, we have a WINNAH! Howling!

  • @jaybate-1.0 Thank you the other day for pointing out how you are always joking because it makes your themes so much more fun!

  • @ParisHawk

    That’s the same strategy I am guessing they used this week. Roberts works on Purdue with Self.

    Snacks and Townsend split up Oregon and Michigan, working with Case to get whatever video stuff they need - this is where having a good basketball mind as video coordinator is helpful to speed this process up. Quite a few really good coaches at both the college and NBA level got their start as video coordinator because you do so much analysis of game plans that you can’t help but improve your X and O ability.

  • @mayjay

    Still struggling, eh?

    A win will help.

    I think the chance of a flat earth is greater than coaches only thinking about one game at a time.

    I mean why would coaches lie about planning for multiple opponents?

    Do you recall that the US military drew up war plans for every possible opponent, including Great Britain, during the 1930s?

    They weren’t just worrying about Germany.

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