Putting pressure on the current Jayhawks



  • I know this years team hasn’t played one second in this upcoming season.

    Yet just looking at talent? Is this year’s KU team more talented than our NC team of 08/09?

    Who would win if these two teams locked up on the hard court?

    I have some thoughts but I’ll let you gals and guys speak first.



  • Even if this years team matched their potential, I dont think that would be good enough. When the 08 team was playing loose and relaxed with no pressure, I would have to go way back to find a team that would beat them in a series. How many teams have beat two other national champions and been champions themselves? They would smoke the Duke teams in 10 and 15, Uconns teams in 11 and 14, would probably beat the Unibrow but the biggest challenge of recent champions would be Villanova. They had the largest margin of victory of any national championship team.

    Dok is not at the point where he would be a problem for Kaun, Arthur and Jackson, especially on double teams when a guard like Chalmers comes down from a wing or from behind. Graham, Newman and Vick would not be able to handle Chalmers, Robinson and Collins.

    I’d say the 08 team would win by 15.



  • @HawkChamp

    Well just let me say I love that 08 team. They were champions.

    However I just know. When we look at the paint play. Kaun and Jackson were awesome. They were tough as they came. Yet Udoka is a man child, a footer. The boy can play. Neither Kaun or Jackson were scorers. At best they were muscle ball paint players. I have no doubt Udoka could and would hold his own. Arthur could be a problem though. Yet Preston could be just as good as Arthur. And lets not forget Whitman. I love Jackson he was a warrior. Yet LIghtfoot is just as much as a warrior who can actually shoot.

    Robinson was a great point guard, yet does he have the same fire power as Graham? I don’t think so. Rush was a great shooter yet is he any different than Svi? My money is on Svi. Collins is a wild card Not sure this years team has an answer for him. Chalmers was a ninja thief. I think Newman can match and surpass on the offensive side of the ball. Not so much on the Defense. Chalmers was quite special on the defense side of the ball. He was a thief. The wild card in this matchup maybe Vick. If Vick takes another big step were talking lottery pick.

    I don’t want to pick a winner. Yet I do believe this team can hold it’s own. Well see.



  • @DoubleDD there are just too many unknowns with Billy and Dok to know how they would stack up. Do they have the potential to match the 08 team in the post? Absolutely. I think Rush is a definite upgrade over Svi. No question. Now if we’re talking Josh Jackson, well I would take him over Rush any day without a second thought.

    Maybe I’m still after almost ten years disillusioned by their thrashing and domination of Roy in 08. That was them playing their best game of the year, and they normally did not play at that level, or else they would have finished the season 40-0.

    I hope this year’s team can come close to 08 - that would mean a final four and possibly a championship. I’m skeptical because no team since has executed or defended at that level. The east coast media ignores them, but the 08 team is one of the best since the new millenium. I mean, outside of Kentucky in 2015, what team is there that you can say “Oh yeah, that team was better than 08”? I can’t think of one.



  • @DoubleDD Lightfoot has energy, but Jackson could actually play basketball and had the size to intimidate. If Lightfoot beat on his chest like that he may crush his rib cage.

    I’ve never seen ball movement out of KU like in '08. I hope to see it again soon!

    If Fr. Preston could be anywhere near as good as So. Arthur we will enjoy a nice season. IF Doke can man the paint it will free things up for the guards this season, but that '08 team was longer, faster, and played very well together. The defensive tandem of Chalmers and Robinson was killer. I’d hate to have to bring the ball up the court against them, I don’t think Newman and Graham can match that…and I didn’t bring up the best defensive player on the court- a true lockdown wing defender BRush.

    I truly hope this team can live up to expectations, but Perry’s Sr. Year was the year KU should’ve won it. I’m just not going to be overly optimistic until I see them play. Big 12 Champs, Final Four or bust!



  • @DoubleDD It’s all about defense, imo. That 2008 team was a tremendous defensive team. Can this team defend like 2008?



  • Until we know how all the pieces are going to fit and what the rotation looks like this is hardly a better team then the 08-09 teams. There is tremendous upside for this team, more then last years squad but we need everything to go perfectly for it to happen. The most important part of this years team is keeping its big men healthy. Every season in recent memory has been derailed by post injuries/eligibility issues.



  • @DoubleDD

    RussRob was a high scorer in HS but he was asked to take on a different role at KU and this is why he almost left the program. It is possible that not being a scorer hurt his chances in the NBA. On the other hand, without him playing the role he did KU does not win in 2008.



  • @KUSTEVE I agree in half court sets, 2007-08 might be hard to match on the defensive end. In transition D, our guards, specifically Vick, Graham, and possibly Garrett seems like they could be as disruptive as 2008 if we’re lucky.

    On offense, while I think Udoka might be unstoppable, we had a pretty healthy playbook in 2008. Not sure our young front court is going to be as flexible in their approach, so I worry about foul trouble and tough d causing the bigs to shut down and not reliably score.



  • @approxinfinity Last year’s team had the worst defensive eff in the Self era. Any improvement will help alot. It is ironic that the two worst defensive teams in Bill’s tenure came when we had recruited the number 1 player in the country. I’m not suggesting there is a link, because I thought Josh was our best defender. In retrospect, the posters who said we couldn’t replace Perry and Wayne were right, but not for the reasons they had originally surmised: it wasn’t the offense we missed … it was their defense we missed. We go from 3rd in the country in def eff to 24th in one year. I say we’ll be back in the Top 10 in defense this year. Love the size on our front line, although we could be holding our breath with Doke’s fouls all year.



  • This team is not better than the 2007-08 team. Even if they win a title this tear, that team will be better. The 2008 team was deeper and better at every position. RusRob wasn’t an great offensive player at KU, but he was the best defensive guard Self has had to me. His ability to force opposing guards into mistakes that helped pad steal stars for Chalmers and Rush is what Set’s him apart to me. DG is a good offensive player, but not at the level RR was on defense.



  • @KUSTEVE said “In retrospect, the posters who said we couldn’t replace Perry and Wayne were right, but not for the reasons they had originally surmised: it wasn’t the offense we missed … it was their defense we missed. We go from 3rd in the country in def eff to 24th in one year.”

    And here I thought it was because BG left…
    :upside_down: :thought_balloon:



  • Agree this team is not as good as the 08 team.

    @mayjay Perry was super smart. He made up for not being an elite athlete by always being well positioned. He seemed to know some of the opposing sets better than the players on the other team in league play…



  • It isn’t a slam dunk that the 08 team was better.

    08 team had 8 players with NBA talent. They were deep and crazy talented. No denying that. But would everyone be giving them the benefit of the doubt if Memphis makes a couple of free throws?

    This team has: Vick, Svi, DG, Newman, and Doke with NBA talent. Only 5 guys I feel comfortable in saying that about at least. Garrett, Cunliffe and Preston could all surprise though. That would put this team right there with the 08 team. And then it comes down to other arguments, like style of play and rules.

    Who knows until we see this team play either way. DG, Svi and Newman could possibly be the scariest scoring combination we have ever had if they all play up to their potential. And the post will be anchored by a mammoth. I’m interested to see it play out before officially giving the 08 team the win.



  • @Kcmatt7 The 2008 Jayhawks would smoke this year’s team because of defense.

    2008 was the best defensive team I have ever seen. Chalmers, Collins, Robinson, and Rush were all above average to elite defenders at the college level and would wreck havoc on this team.

    Last year’s team was well below average on defense and the core of that team is still here including the two worst perimeter defenders in Svi and Graham. Toss in the downgrade on defense that Newman is to Mason and this year’s team may actually be worse on defense than last year on the perimeter. A healthy Azubuike helps the post defense, but he has to stay healthy and out of foul trouble.

    Vick is the only proven above average perimeter defender KU has right now. Garrett is an unknown until November.



  • @Texas-Hawk-10 don’t forget the rule changes. Not that it matters. Those guys had heart! Dug deep.



  • You have to give the nod to the 08 team. It’s the respectful thing to do. Yet this current team hasn’t played a game yet. I think we are all in for a surprise. I under stand the concern of foul trouble with Doka. Yet don’t forget this kid has a whole year under Coach’s leadership. Just to learn what Coach is trying to lay down. I mean I thought the kid was a quite a quick learner before he got hurt. I’m thinking Doka may shock the world.

    Think about it? He’s was playing the 4 and 1 quite well before he got hurt. Meaning he doesn’t have to come off the court when Coach wants to change some things up.

    Graham, Vick, Svi, and yes even Newman are all going to be veterans in the back court. Again Newman has a whole year to just digest what Coach wants with out the pressure of playing. Don’t forget Newman was considered a OAD. So he does have the talent. He too may shock the world.

    That 08 team was tough as h e double hockey sticks. No doubt. Yet I wouldn’t just claim them best as matter of fackly. . Lets not forget the 08 team ran the weave like no other KU team, and they loved to drive the ball. Shooting the 3 was way down on the order of importance or running the offensive. Something tells me this years team is going to shoot the three and shoot it a lot. Also as I said before the 08 team loved to drive the ball. I’m not sure they would have much success with Doka guarding the rim. Remember the UCLA matchups? UCLA took away the paint and forced the 08 team to make a living from outside. The 08 team became quite average on the offensive side of the ball.

    Hey I would have to give the nod to the 08 team because they have done it and proved their worth. This current KU hasn’t even played a game yet. It’s an interesting topic.



  • @Texas-Hawk-10 I’ll just wait until I see this group play a little.

    You’re probably right. That team was talented, deep and experienced. The tri-fecta. But this years team should be at the very least talented and experienced. I’ll continue to wait it out and see what the team looks like with all the available pieces.

    We don’t know that team would eat them alive. Look back at their schedule and you will see that against any ranked team besides UNC, it was either a loss or a very close game. They weren’t leaps and bounds better than everyone.

    I’m just saying, lets take our 2008 goggles off and watch this seasons team for what it is. Then we can compare.



  • @DoubleDD UCLA was 2007, not 2008, KU didn’t play UCLA in 2008 at any point. This year’s team is more than likely the better team offensively, but there have been several teams that were better offensive team than the 2008 team during the Self era. The difference between the 2008 KU team and any other during the Self era is that team’s ability to at defense and shut teams down. They shut Memphis down, the shut UNC down, they shut Steph Curry’s Davidson down. They forced Curry to pass on that final possession.

    This year’s team is not going be much better than last year on defense, if they’re even better. Graham and Svi have been here 3 years, they’re not improving significantly at this point. My concerns with Azubuike on defense are not related to his 1 on 1 defense, but rather him picking up cheap fouls trying to bail out Graham, Svi, and Newman who are all below average defenders.

    What’s going to happen with this group when they run into great defenses like Oregon and Villanova that they haven’t played against multiple times and have familiarity with like the Big 12 teams they face 2-3 times a year?

    There’s a reason why the cliche “offense wins games, defense wins championships” exists. It’s because it’s true. There are very few bad defensive teams that win championships in any sport. College basketball is no different.

    That 2012 team was the worst offensive team Self has had at KU, but they still reached the title game because that was the 2nd best defensive team Self has ever had. With T-Rob and Witney guarding the rim, that team was probably the most aggressive defensive team Self has had because of those two giants in the paint.

    If this team doesn’t find a way to significantly improve their team defense over last season, they’re not winning a national title this year.



  • @Texas-Hawk-10 k

    Have to disagree. So none of the 08 players ever played UCLA?

    Defense is great. I agree it’s an important part of the game. Very few run and gun teams ever win it all. Yet they’re are plenty of teams that won with just offense. Sadly it’s hard to prove in basketball.

    Take the Syracuse and KU national championship game. Syracuse didn’t play great defense. KU just couldn’t hit the board side of a Barn. Yet you come back and say the only reason that KU couldn’t make their shots. Defense? See what I’m saying.

    Yet if you remember Syracuse when crazy from 3 land. Also KU didn’t beat Memphis with defense. Lets not forget KU was down for the count. It took fouling and a strong offensive. In fact it took that evil three point shooting to bring down Memphis.

    Oh and one more thing? Sad to hear you think this team doesn’t have the goods.

    I for one thinks this team has a great chance. They are talented, they are veteran bunch and they are deep.

    I’m going to enjoy the up coming season. I hope you do too.



  • @Kcmatt7 Go look at the scores, that team only gave up 70+ ten times all year. That team gave up 60.8 ppg in the NCAA tournament and 61.5 ppg for the entire season. Defense is why that team is better than this year’s will be. The other Bill Self team that reached the title game allowed 61.7 ppg for the entirety of the season. Last year’s team allowed 71.9 ppg for the season. The 2015-16 team gave up 67.6 ppg for the year.

    The 2007-08 team had 21 games where they held their opponent to 60 points or less. The 2011-12 team had 18 games where they allowed 60 points or less. The 2016-17 team had 3 such games all season.

    All of this debate about the teams has been heavily focused on the offensive side of the ball and I will absolutely give this year’s team the edge on offense over either Self team to reach the title game. That’s not the issue, the issue is what happens when the shots don’t fall, can this team get the stops that the 2008 and 2012 teams got.

    The Villanova and Oregon teams that beat KU in the E8 were both highly regarded defensive teams that proved the cliche that great defense stops great offense.

    This team is going to have to make some serious improvements on defense in order to win a national title this year, or even reach the title game.



  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    I don’t think so? I remember Villanova Pounding the ball inside to that kid I can’t remember. Yet he made a fooll of the front court of KU. It was done in during crunch time.

    Sadly it was a bad reminder.



  • DoubleDD said:

    @Texas-Hawk-10 k

    Have to disagree. So none of the 08 players ever played UCLA?

    Not during the 2007-08 season.



  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    Duh. but these kids had played what 3 years together? So UCLA never stopped these kids from advancing to greatness?



  • @DoubleDD You are currently proving my point for me by focusing soley on the offensive side of the ball. Villanova was 15th in ppg allowed in 2015-16 when they won the title. They held a KU team that averaged over 80 ppg and was 16th nationally in ppg to 59 points. That’s not Villanova’s offense outscoring KU, that’s a great defense shutting down one of the best offensive teams in the country. Oregon was the same book, different chapter. They held 14th highest scoring team to 60 points. When a team gets held to more than 20 points below their season average, that’s not an off night offensively, that’s a a great defense shutting down a great offense.



  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    So your saying the 06/07 team which is basically the same team that won it didn’t lose to UCLA regional final, 68-55



  • @DoubleDD UCLA didn’t have Kevin Love in 2007 and KU didn’t have Julian Wright in 2008. 2 huge roster differences that make it not as comparable as you want it to be.



  • Ok so lets go at a different angle. You think that defense only wins championships in all sports. OK so what about old Roy Boy who doesn’t play defense. Yet he as 3 NC’s?



  • @Texas-Hawk-10 This same group also lost in the first round once if I’m remembering correctly. While giving up less points that season…

    I mean really your better argument should be difference in PPG. 08 was 19 ppg better than their opponents. Last season we were only 11.3. That is a huge gap.

    But anyways, I still think this team has room to grow and picked up a NPOY contender in Newman. Even if they lost Frank. But to say that this team’s defense won’t be improved is a stretch.

    • DG is a better defender than Frank was. According to advanced metrics at least.
    • Newman did play poor D his freshmen year, but cmon. He won’t get to do that for Bill. Newman is plenty athletic and quick enough to be a solid defender.
    • Vick can D some people up and should have a much improved season on both ends. Svi is a poor on ball defender, but very good at jumping passing lanes. With 2 real biggs behind him on D, he should be able to stay aggressive
    • Preston has all the potential to be a great player. He could be every bit as good as Arthur.
    • Doke - Will be a better defender than any post on the 08 team. Blocked 12% of shots last year while healthy. That is Witheyesk. And pulled in 18% of rebounds which is phenomenal.

    All in all, I expect this team to hold teams into the 60s on average like almost every Bill Self team in the past. May be the upper 60s, but definitely the 60s. Let’s say 68 points to be pretty safe. Between better rebounding and rim protection that is a safe bet.

    Then lets say that our offense will be at least as good. That brings us up to a 15ppg. Which is enough to be competitive wtih 08.

    This team could potentially score even more points than next year. We will get points from the 5 we didn’t get last year. But either way, we should be close if we play at the same pace. If we play at a slower pace, opponents points should drop at an equal pace.

    Theoretically, this team should win by about 15ppg next season with the potential to reach the 18ppg mark set by the 2008 team.

    I’m not telling you the 08 team isn’t better. I’m just saying that this team is talented enough that if things fall right they could be right there with them.



  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    Funny you bring up Kevin Love.

    I’m assuming you’re right Love and Wright didn’t play in that game. Yet sadly love became a household name in the NBA. Nobody remembers Wright.

    UCLA still beat KU.

    I agree defense is an important part of the game I would never argue that point. Yet your making it sound like this years team can’t win it, because they can’t play defense.

    How about we wait to see what this team does?

    To be continued?



  • @Kcmatt7 Graham being better than Mason isn’t saying much because neither were/are great defenders. I agree that Vick is the best perimeter defender KU has, but we also haven’t seen him as an on ball defender much so that’s still a question mark. Svi was decent at jumping the lanes, but he got burned much more frequently than he was successful and gave up far too many easy baskets doing that.

    Margin of victory can be an indicator, but you almost always have to be a great defensive team to have a high margin of victory. If this team is giving up an average of 68 ppg, they’re not winning a title.



  • @DoubleDD Wright did play in 2006-07, but left that year and Love was a freshman in 2007-08. Those two roster changes have a huge impact because they both played the same position.

    I think you severely undervalue how important defense is because just about every counterpoint you use is about offense. Unless the defense is significantly improved over the past 3 years, I don’t think this team win a title. It’s hard to be on for 6 games in a row on offense and a bad offensive game without the defense to make up for equals an early exit.

    This team needs to give less than 65 ppg for me to believe they have a real shot at winning the title. They can make a deep run as we’ve seen the past two years, but without the defense to go with the offense, I don’t see anything other than 2017 being added to the conference titles banner happening this year.



  • @Texas-Hawk-10 You can win a NC giving up more than 62 points per game… In fact, several teams have given up 70 ppg and won a NC.



  • @Kcmatt7 but its much more reliable to give up closer to 60 rather than 70. You have more room for an off game with a stiffer defense.



  • @Kcmatt7 In close games, which most NCAA Tournament games are, especially deep in the tourney, I’d much rather have to score the 61 points Oregon needed to score to advance than the 75 KU needed to score.

    Teams can win without great defenses, it’s just much rarer and much more difficult to do and Self has yet to show the ability to win reach the Final Four with out an elite defense, sometimes even with one.



  • @Texas-Hawk-10 sometimes the losses have been from a result of playing not to lose - IMO, 2007, 2011 and 2017. For last year, KU missed way too many open threes or threes they normally make for me to think it had much to do with Oregon. I mean, how many times has Devonte gone 0-7? I dont recall another game where that has happened. They beat themselves.



  • @HawkChamp What was the back up plan for Graham going ice cold? KU still gave up 74 points. Their inability to get any stops on defense is what hurt them way more than an off night in offense did.

    We keep talking about how great a 3 point shooting group this is, but they’re also showing the cliche “Live by the 3, for by the 3” true because they don’t have anything else to fall back on.

    I’d much rather have a group like the 2012 team that hung their hat on being a lockdown defensive team. That team was the worst offensive team Bill Self has had at KU and the worst offensive team that I can remember KU trotting out there and they still nearly won a title.

    Those games were ugly to watch on TV and why they’re not as fondly remembered, but that team was every bit the defensive juggernaut the 2008 team was.

    The debate started as 2008 vs. this team, but I’d put money on 2012 KU beating this team.



  • @Kcmatt7

    Having NBA talent and making it to the NBA can be quite different. The '08 team had only 4 players that played in the NBA. Chalmers is probably the more successful and Rush had his moments but Aldrich and Arthur have been only role players. RussRob and Collins did not make it past the Summer League. Darnell played short stints but no permanent contract; Kaun went to Russia and ended up in Cleveland for one last uneventful season.

    The current team has the potential of having more players make it to the show. Time will tell.



  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    Difficult to compare defensive number between the '08 and other teams. Remember that the shot clock is now 30 seconds and the rules have been changed to favor the offensive player and consequently scoring has gone up.



  • @JayHawkFanToo Some of the fall, but not nearly enough, can be attributed to the general increase in scoring. Nearly twice as many teams now give up 70 or more pts than in 07-08. But the best defensive teams last year and 07-08 were only 2 pts apart. Also, the median (half more, half less) only grew by about 3.4 pts. On the other hand, KU was at #157 last year with 71.9, but that defensive scoring number would have been dramatically worse, some 80 places lower in 08 at #249.

    These numbers are from a web site called teamrankings.com. Pretty interesting stats available there. No clue how accurate.



  • JayHawkFanToo said:

    @Kcmatt7

    Kaun went to Russia and ended up in Cleveland for one last uneventful season.

    Kaun got a ring. James has never won without a Jayhawk on the roster.



  • @JayHawkFanToo RR would foul out of every game he played if they called the rules the same as today.



  • @Texas-Hawk-10 We had no options than shooting 3s, and Frank and JJ driving to the hoop. That’s all we had. Throw the ball into LL, and you get the double clutch, the slow motion gathering himself, and most times, a missed shot. We had a huge hole in the middle. Our front line couldn’t score in the paint*(unless we drove it), and we couldn’t defend the rim. You reference our big 3 (Chalmers,RR, Rush)from 2008 on the perimeter, and one of the reasons they were able to play the passing lanes, and create so much havoc on the perimeter was they had two very good bigs behind them to protect the rim.

    We are adding two very large bodies down low. Those additions should allow our perimeter guys to play tighter. Will they be as good as 2008? No. But, we will be better than last year, imo.


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