KU got beat by a better team

  • KU players, coaches, avid fans and marginal supporters,

    Congrats on another year of fun, high level play, great effort and strong results. I had predicted in a previous post at the start of the year another Big 12 Title, another 30+ win season and another Final Four appearance.

    Hey, two out of three, and almost three out of three ain’t bad…close but no cigar. Disappointing but the sky is not falling. The program is in excellent shape and our team had an excellent chance of going all the way, but so do other teams, like Oregon. I guess it was not meant to be.

    Here are a few subjects we KU fans who follow religiously our team and believe every year we can go all the way, might like to consider:

    1. This team and this group of young men performed at a high level and fulfilled their “contract” this season. We were not the overwhelming favorite and a dominant force in college basketball. No one is anymore, as any of a dozen teams can win the title in any give year. Let’s be thankful we are ALWAYS in the hunt. We had a good shot and came up short. No lack of effort, no shame, no one’s fault. Last night, we got beat by a better team.

    2. Oregon has as good or a better team than Kansas this year. Many sports fans do not make a distinction between “should have won” and “could have won”. There is NO WAY they wanted it more than us. There is NO WAY we were outhustled, out coached or unprepared. If you look at the rosters, they are bigger, longer, more athletic than we are, and they outplayed us on the floor last night. Period. Hats off to the Ducks!

    3. We could have won and were the favorites and were playing at home, we all agree on this, but this game was NOT a meltdown. Oregon got ahead early in a very rugged start for both teams. JJ got the two quick fouls, they made some very tough shots and played tough, smart D. They rebounded well and blocked our drives to the basket (Jordan Bell is a beast), and worked their butts off, and just beat us last night. Man up KU fans, single game elimination tournament at year end is like that for us AND the other programs as well. Please refrain from trashing the coach, any of the players or our wonderful basketball program and tradition. Show some class and help us move forward.

    4. Coach Self had an outstanding coaching season and is evolving on the offensive side of the ball. He let them play, we jacked up threes, we tried to run, we tried pressure. Many of us on this rat board (including me) have criticized Coach Self for not having a more free-flowing game on O. The D is always good and came together nicely at year end, but the O was terrific this year and our schemes have improved. Live by the three and die by the three…high risk, high reward.

    5. Oregon played very hard, got an early lead, hung on in the second half of the second half (last ten minutes when we made a mini-run), and got some fortunate breaks shooting and rebounding the ball. That’s the way the ball bounces in this and every game we play. We did not make shots (5-25 from 3) and they did (11-25 from 3). They outrebounded us 36-32. They blocked more shots and got more 50-50 balls NOT because “they wanted it more and some of our guys did not have focus” but simply because they are equal or more athletic (bigger, strong, faster, quicker, taller, longer…) player to player than we are, AND because they got lucky at key moments in the game.

    6. We fans often underestimate the luck factor in the NCAA tournament, the way the ball bounces into one team’s hands and out of another team’s reach. If there is a big talent discrepancy, no big deal. But if the talent is equal, or the teams are evenly matched, one game is a crap shoot, period, even at home in KC. We have won and will continue to win our fair share, including in the NCAA tournament, just not this year. The odds will prevail if we keep knocking at the door.

    7. Bravo to the seniors, we bleed blue and red for you and feel your pain.

    Frank - you are an inspiration and a great, great KU player and ambassador whose jersey will hang in the Fieldhouse with the other hall of famers in the mecca of college basketball. National Player of the Year 2016-17!!! Good luck at the next level.

    Landon - you have performed (if possible) beyond your abilities as well as any KU player in history, making an outstanding contribution to this year’s team and over the past five years. Thank you, good luck next year and we hope to see you playing for money, somewhere.

    Tyler - it is not easy being the coach’s son. You have won the hearts of the Jayhawk nation and we hope you will continue in the profession. Ask you dad for a job…

    KU fans - once we get through the grieving process, we will reflect on our wonderful memories of this year’s team and all the exciting victories (and comebacks!), and another Big 12 title to keep the string alive.

    Stay the course and do not lose faith. Our time for future Final Fours is coming, and will come in numbers, and is just around the corner.

    Rock Chalk!

  • @jayhawk-007 you said it well. I’m curious to see where Tyler lands with his sports management degree.

  • @approxinfinity San Antonio with Buford

  • @jayhawk-007 Great post but I wouldn’t necessarily call Oregon a better team overall, but they won because they played better than KU yesterday, nothing wrong with that.
    I’d say the fact that KU couldn’t figure out the matchup zone for 25 minutes meant they were unprepared for it.
    Was Oregon really that much bigger and more athletic than Kansas? Other than Bell over Lucas, which other position did Oregon have a clear matchup advantage? You could argue Brooks and I wouldn’t debate that, but Prichard over Graham? Ennis over Mason?

  • @Blown yeah that’s my first thought too. Hope he does, that would be a great place to start.

  • @approxinfinity or with Hoiberg if he keeps his job

  • @Blown hmm that’s an interesting thought.

  • This felt a lot like those losses where we were out-talented, as you suggest. Over the years, I’ve learned to roll with these kinds of disappointments. At least 18 of Oregon’s points were just straight up ISO’s where they shot over the defender. On defense, that same length and athleticism disrupted our shots.

    It’s not like one player beat us. It’s not like we choked. This was one of the more digestible losses from the tourney in KU history. It stinks that this is the last time we see Mason or JJ. But in no way is it worse than the Nova loss, where the refs jobbed us for the Diallo scandal. Or Stanford, or VCU, etc. We lost because we couldn’t hit shots, and because they couldn’t miss.

    Let’s revisit this in a week after Oregon wins the championship.

  • @betterfireE thats why I’m saying we need long, athletic guards so that we can disrupt other teams like Oregon did.

  • I don’t believe Oregon is a better team than KU; KU simply picked the wrong game to go cold and it is unlikely it would happen two games in a row.

    Coach Self had a good game plan and KU should have won the game. if you watched the game you know that most of the shots KU took were not only wide open but shots that KU player make routinely at a high clip, as in the MSU and Purdue games, but Saturday just were not going in and with a great rim protector, penetrating was not the best option as shown by the 8 blocks Oregon had. Even with all the cold shooting, KU came within 6 point with under 3 minutes left but went scoreless from then on.

    I am a big proponent of making the games from the Elite 8 on a 2 out of 3 series. I bet that if KU plays Oregon two more times, it probably wins the other two.

  • Right here is why we got beat Saturday:


    FG 0-7

    3PT 0-6

    FT 3-4

    OREB - 0

    DREB - 2

    REB - 2

    AST - 2

    STL - 0

    BLK - 0

    TO - 1

    PF - 2

    PTS - 3

  • @nuleafjhawk looks like a Carlton Bragg stat line.

  • @nuleafjhawk

    Graham played that way for a reason; Oregon was a bad matchup for our guards (which means they are probably a bad matchup for everyone else’s guards). I also think Graham took his development back with conservative play this year. He was the Jacque Vaughn of this year; he became a distributor. He also suffered against length (Jeez how many times do I have to say/think/type this, it stinks.

    We really needed a big time step up this game, but Bell was just that much better. He’s everything we wished Jamari Traylor could be. We NEEDED Azubuike. Many of us on this board said S16 or E8 was our likely ceiling after his injury.

  • @betterfireE and many people changed their minds after we beat Michigan St by 20 (which NOBODY does) and a very good Purdue team by 32. I refuse to buy into the fact that their guards were that much better than our. All year - from day one - even the east coast media owned up to the fact that KANSAS had the best backcourt in the country. But half of it didn’t show up Saturday.

    Keep in mind this is not a personal attack on him - I love him, hope he stays next year - but for whatever reason he did not show up Saturday night and it cost us a trip to Phoenix.

  • @nuleafjhawk but he wasn’t the only one

  • @nuleafjhawk man that was hard to read. painful, but true. Why do we seem to have the most inexplicable losses in the tournament?

    2010 shoot 10% from three and run into Faroukmanesh

    2011 Markief has an uncharacteristic 8 turnovers by himself and we lose to VCU

    2013 we blow a 12 point lead in 2 minutes to michigan

    2017 a 40% and 50% three point shooting duo go 2 of 14.

    Graham and Mason shot so poorly from 3 on Saturday that their performance dropped their yearly 3pt% a percentage point just in one game.

    you cant make this stuff up.

  • @nuleafjhawk said:

    @betterfireE and many people changed their minds after we beat Michigan St by 20 (which NOBODY does) and a very good Purdue team by 32. I refuse to buy into the fact that their guards were that much better than our. All year - from day one - even the east coast media owned up to the fact that KANSAS had the best backcourt in the country. But half of it didn’t show up Saturday.

    Keep in mind this is not a personal attack on him - I love him, hope he stays next year - but for whatever reason he did not show up Saturday night and it cost us a trip to Phoenix.

    I agree - and there seems to be some post-hoc rationalization re talent level and athleticism - that Oregon was superior on both fronts. Make no mistake about it - Oregon is a really good team and was a FF favorite at the beginning of the year - got dropped at least a seed because Boucher got hurt at the end of the year (the guy who was supposedly more of a rim protector than Bell).

    But let’s be real - Oregon beat exactly no one of note during the non-conference schedule - they got spanked by Baylor and lost to Georgetown (?!). In conference they beat the lower tier teams and split with UCLA and Arizona.

    In their first 3 tournament games, they beat Iona by 16 and squeaked by URI and Michigan - by 3 and 1 points, respectively. Their first 3 opponents all scored more points that we did - apparently they did not have quite the same issues with Oregon’s length and athleticism. Oregon’s DER was in the 20s, although dropped to 19 after the win against us, so they were solid, but not one of elite defensive teams - even with Boucher.

    The thing that is sticking in my craw is that we clearly got taken out of our offense - the guys admitted that they struggled with the match-up zone. As a result, we scored the fewest points we have all season. Last year at the same time, Villanova took us out of our offense and we scored 59 points.

    I’m not sure why in seemingly too many instances in the tournament over the years (I’m thinking VCU, Davidson (even though we won) and UCLA, among others) that our opponents seem to be successful in taking us out of our offense? Shouldn’t we be the team doing that to them?

    Oregon is a really good team and shot the ball well and played well in a hostile environment, so hats off to them. But, I don’t accept that they were more talented across the line-up (although it may turn out that they have more successful NBA players; remains to be seen) and there is a reason we were favored by 6.5 points going in. Posts above show recap who’ve we lost to as a higher seed in the tournament (esp. in the Elite Eight) and I would argue that UCLA was probably the only team in all of those who actually had more talent on the floor.

    What is most frustrating is a seeming pattern of very sub par performances on the offensive end during the tournament. Maybe it is just luck or one of those things…

  • @Blown said:

    2013 we blow a 12 point lead in 2 minutes to michigan

    Did we really have a 12 point lead with 2 minutes left?

  • @chriz I can’t be certain. It sure felt like it.

    I do know with certainty that we had a 5 point lead with 21 seconds left.

  • @chriz said:

    @Blown said:

    2013 we blow a 12 point lead in 2 minutes to michigan

    Did we really have a 12 point lead with 2 minutes left?

    Up by 10 with just less than 3 minutes to go and up 8 with just less than 2 minutes to play…

  • @chriz

    That was the game that Johnson got a t’d up for hitting McGary in crotch.

    Was reviewing some old articles and noted another common theme…one of our starting guards fouled up quickly in the first half…

    Johnson,**** who picked up three fouls in just three minutes of playing time in the first half****, gave Kansas its biggest lead at 68-54 with a 3-pointer from the corner with just under 7 minutes left.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 He definitely wasn’t the only one!! The difference is, he had very, very good stats all year long and he is an upperclassman that others looked to for leadership. You know that chant that WE use all the time? " You let your whole team down… " kinda applies here.

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  • @nuleafjhawk was thinking of another upper classmen, ll

  • Guys - when I write “we got beat by a better team” I do not mean in general every time, but in that particular game. The plays Oregon made on O and D were worthy of a W. They were the better team last Sat by far, and Bell was the best player on the floor by far.

    If we shot poorly, it is also because of their length and athleticism. Their players shot over our players time and time again, posted our guys up and turn and shoot the 12-18 range fade away jumper, made multiple NBA threes and disrupted our O all night long (GREAT transition D by Oregon while Bell still hit the O boards, impressive).

    I cannot believe some KU fans are still thinking “we should have won.” We got beat by 14 on our home court! If we played them ten times on a neutral court, they would win 5-6-7 times. Sorry guys, but our team is not the most talented physically in most end of year tournament matchups, including this year against Oregon. (Purdue was slow, Oregon is fast).

    The difference by far was Bell (PAC 10 POY). When you block that many shots and disrupt that many other shots, rarely does the other team have a good shooting night. Cause-Effect.

    We got beat by a better team and their size on the perimeter was huge (how many times did they post up and back us down and shot over the top?). And their athleticism on the block was much higher than ours.

    One last thing, in the tournament, the completion is MUCH better. Of course we play less well because the other teams are that much better.

    Sometimes we get lucky and get the breaks (08 and 12) and sometimes we get unlucky and just cannot get a break or a shot to fall. Over a six game single elimination tournament, no room for error. BUT, we also missed shots because they were bigger and longer and stronger and better players than most of the teams we had faced this year, not dominant, but a little better class of athlete and we could not run our normal O. We were just a little out of our normal rhythm.

    We got beat by a better team and by better, bigger players (one-on-one). This loss hurts a lot because of the way this team won so many close games and our chemistry on the court and our coaching. We were at home. We were favored to win. We were seated #1.

    Still, we did not chock or underperform, individually or as a team. Some of our guys did not play as well as they have in previous games because of the level of competition. Michigan and Oregon were the two best teams in the Midwest Region.

    Could we have won, of course! Should we have won, no.

    Rock Chalk!

    PS I really like the thoughts on how to attack that match up zone. This is the only area where we might question our coaching staff. They played it out very high and we had to start our O much further from the basket than normal. Could we have made more clever game time and half time adjustments?

  • @jayhawk-007 I agree with all of these points. Oregon was too good defending us to be a fluke.

    If there is one point I could disagree with it’s preparation. We were clearly not prepared for Bell or really any of their players.

    But how can you practice for length or strength?

    I watched the Carolina and Kentucky game, and honestly both KU and Oregon are better. We shall see, but this maybe yet another year where we lose to a title contender.

  • I just feel bad for Landen. He mentioned that one of the reasons he picked KU over Oregon was that he felt that he had a better chance to win a title at KU. Yet KU never made it to the Final 4 in the 5 years he was there. Not saying that means KU didn’t have a better chance than Oregon, but Oregon’s gotten closer to the promised land.

  • @jayhawk-007

    Every season some one finally finds the right note for putting the season to bed.

    Way to go, oo7.

  • It was a 6 point game late after shooting 1-10 from 3 In the second half. Oregon was better that night, but KU absolutely would beat them the next 40 minutes they play. Devonte was scared to shoot his shot was so bad. (My wife couldn’t get over the fear she saw in Devonte’ - wanted him off the court) They missed wide open shots all game. The lane was plugged by Bell, but that doesn’t explain all the missed wide open shots.

    The downfall of Bill’s more hands free approach to letting the guards just play is that they take up to 30 minutes to figure out a team. Also it allows very little opportunity for Bill to make in game changes. Basically when you tell them to go get it all you can do it up the intensity. You can’t all the sudden insert a detailed game plan in the second half. This team didn’t respond well to orchestrated game plans and did better on the fly. They just weren’t quick enough figuring out the ducks.

    The 6 point difference with a few minutes to go despite playing like absolute dog crap tells me Oregon isn’t dominate. This isn’t like Villanova, KU lost the game as much as Oregon won it. Villanova took the game from KU last year. Oregon caught KU on a bad shooting night with no other answer.

  • @dylans Totally agree but championship rosters have inside guys to go to for easy buckets when the outside shots are not falling. I knew that eventually our lack of inside offense would hurt us.

  • @chriz Yikes … when you say it like that, it’s more painful.

    @BigBad Truth is, Lucas just wasn’t good enough against some players. That’s true of every player. It’s just that Lucas’ talent level was lower than some other guys, so the likelihood of being overmatched increased. He was overmatched Saturday. The guy who really let us down is Bragg. He should have been a guy, supposedly 6’10" with more bulk, that should have been able to give us some offense there.

    Interestingly, the same thing happened against Villanova – inability to get some reliable hoops inside. But it was Nova’s scheme (and our lack of effective adjustment to it) that stymied Ellis. Ellis only took 5 shots. That was on the coaches.

    Lucas’ failures, I think, were simply him being out-talented.

  • @dylans Yes Nova took the game from us last year, but I feel like this EE loss compared closely to that loss. With Frank and Wayne going 1-12 from three and Perry being bottled up inside, Devonte was our only player keeping us close against Nova. This year it was Frank trying to carry us while everyone else was shooting like crap and Landon being bottled up inside. To me they are pretty similar games. Just a few more shots falling and a couple more rebounds, we probably win both of those games. Hopefully the bball Gods will be more merciful to us starting this next season, and especially in regards to injury. I am keeping the faith. ROCK CHALK!!!

  • @jayhawk-007

    So you think if Kansas played Oregon in a best of 7… Oregon would win?

    I’m not quite there yet.

  • @drgnslayr

    I say it would be a 7 game series. But I believe KU loses 8/10 times against Oregon in the Elite 8. There is really no way to prepare against length, strength and speed. We would probably adjust to them, since we had some smart players. In any case, barring a job by the referees, I think Oregon makes it to the championship game.

  • @jayhawk-007 Nice post. Man, that was a really tough loss to swallow. I felt bad for the players. They must have felt even worse than we did. But you are right. We will be back next year and just as good.

  • Wann feel bad, then better? Realize that 3 of the 4 coaches in the final four are former coaches from Kansas. Keeps the K-State fans that want to rib ya at a good distance. They ran off 2 Final Four coaches for Bruce at least KU still has Bill.

  • I disagree about them being a better team. The luck factor was def in their favor, a guy banked in a 35 foot shot at halftime. Being out rebounded by 4 to a bigger team isnt terrible but they hit 2 3s off of offensive rebounds in big moments. Most of the rebounds we gave up weren’t because they were bigger, we just missed more shots than them, giving them more chances. A couple of those offensive rebounds we had guys standing and watching, had nothing on them being more athletic, they would’ve out rebounded us by much more off of that alone if that was the case. LL wasnt athletic enough to play with them I’d say, but Mason, JJ, Vick and DG are as athletic as any players in D1 IMO. Coming out with little energy and emotion hurt a ton and missing shots aswell. We played solid D in the second half. They only scored 30 with us putting them at the line 3 times late. Why we didnt keep driving the ball trying to get fouls and dishing to LL for a dunk I’ll never know, it worked a few times only to never be tried again. I’ve said all year we haved lived by out scoring our opponents and lived too much off of our 3 pointers and guards. I belive LL only averaged 8 points a game (still love LL) but he needed another big like Trob and Withey or Black and Emiid to help him out. We needed low post scoring IMO then we would’ve been in better shape even with the 4 guard line up.

  • @DCHawker

    72-66 with 1:58 to play…

  • @betterfireE

    I thought we had the best backcourt in America this year. Sure… we could have used more height. But if you look back at past NC teams… having a huge backcourt isn’t required.

    I just thought we played tired and without ambition. We quickly became lost in this game. I didn’t recognize this team, perhaps similar to what we experienced in Morgantown.

    Many of our missed treys were wide open set shots.

    I thought this was our worst game played all year. Frank was proof of that. Oregon didn’t stop him from getting his points. He got blocked once or twice, but he was doing everything 100% on his own. He had absolutely NO help from his teammates.

    This is the hardest loss I’ve ever had as a Jayhawk.

    I have total belief in Frank Mason. But after this game… I lost confidence in the rest of our team. I thought they left him out there alone. I felt ZERO team concept. ZERO. And I can’t think of many if any past games like this, even when Sherron took games under his complete control.

  • @jayhawk-007

    Might I add one modification?

    KU got beat by a better team…with a Nike contract.

  • “What is most frustrating is a seeming pattern of very sub par performances on the offensive end during the tournament.”–@DCHawker

    I have wondered about this, too.

    But one tournament a few years ago I anecdotally observed some other teams in the 16 and EE rounds and I noticed that the loser in most of those games lost either because of a sub par offensive performance, or because of apparent whistle asymmetry favoring their opponent.

    I hypothesized without writing about it that in the vast majority of Carney games, those are the two ways one loses, once the competition gets stiff, and when one is not among a select few EST teams.

    This is only a hypothesis, not an assertion of verified empirical fact.

    But ever since I have focused on calls for more symmetric refereeing to recover the tournament from the apparent jaws of the Carney.

    Bad shooting nights seem a given of the stochastic aspects of the game.

    Bad refereeing seems something that could be remedied.

  • We weren’t beat by a better team. We beat ourselves.

  • @KUSTEVE Careful: insisting you are better than the team you lose to is steering dangerously close to Squeaky “played harder” territory!

    All that matters is they were better when it counted. Fluke shots? Still have to launch them without getting blocked. Bounce of the rebounds? Still have to be somewhere near where the ball comes down.

  • @mayjay What is Squeeky? I’m not following.

  • @KUSTEVE K State coach with the play harder chart!

  • @mayjay

    If KU and Oregon play best of seven, who do you think would win that series?

  • @JayHawkFanToo It doesn’t matter to me. And if your answer is KU, does that actually make you feel better–or worse?

    The point is, I get no sense of satisfaction or solace by thinking KU was somehow better. Because we weren’t when it counted. Oregon played better and won. And it is not like it was a close game, so it wasn’t just a missed FT, or a last second hail Mary, or a single bad call.

  • @mayjay

    I simply asked the question since the answer probably would indicate which is the better team. Other than Football where it is logistically impractical to have teams face each other more than once, just about every other major sport, other than college basketball, has teams facing each other more than once. I have always been on favor of having a 2 out of 3 format for games starting with the elite 8; it would take some of the luck, or lack thereof, of the current format. I don’t believe this will happen anytime soon.

    FWIW, I believe that KU would take the series 4-1 or 4-2 and it does not make me feel better or worse. As much as I like basketball, I take it for what it is, a sport/entertainment and one more or one less win does not change any thing important in my world/life. Sure, I would have preferred KU won but losing is not the end of the world and I already derived a full season of enjoyment from the team. Remember, every team in the tournament except one, end its season with a loss.

  • @JayHawkFanToo said:

    it would take some of the luck, or lack thereof, of the current format

    I think it would take the fun out of it, too. 😞 I understand what you are saying about being a better measure, but I am thoroughly against that idea because I think it would reduce the tourney to blue bloods only. I don’t deny that blues dominate now, but I don’t like giving any team a do over. And I don’t want to see a Yankees dynasty in cbb. UCLA is in the past, thank goodness!

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