Is Self Cleared to Coach Against TCU?

  • Just testing you!

  • Self did a good bit of coaching actually to win the game. Going to the zone for a few possessions when we couldn’t seem to keep them out of the paint and hadn’t cleared a rebound since 1994… Thought we should’ve stayed with it longer honestly. Also, as much as I hate to question a HOFer I just continually fail to understand why our late clock/late game offense is always stand and hold the ball and the one guy drive and throw up a circus attempt that usually gets blocked to the stone age… The % of time it actually works cannot be that good. Although, its the only thing we’ve done in that situation for years upon years so perhaps it’s more effective by the numbers than it looks

  • @cragarhawk You have brought up a very good point, and I hope someone in the statistical know might follow up on the numbers.

  • @cragarhawk Ah, you’re having late game nightmares flashing back to the 2013 Michigan game, where on two final possessions (end of game and OT), Self did not shine.

  • @HighEliteMajor perhaps I’m making more of it than it is. But I feel like it’s every tight game. Late game/late clock. Even last possession of the half. My contention has always been why not run offense? We hear Self always talk about the ball sticking. We see it stick… We see the ball move well at times and I feel like we’re so much better when it does.
    I don’t know if it’s the fear of turning the ball over or something? But I’d still maintain that the % of time we get a turnover or a silly shot that just as well be a turnover has to be large.

  • @cragarhawk

    That seems to be the SOP of every team holding a slim lead and wanting to use up clock. The object is to use up as much clock as possible, penetrate and either kick it to the outside for an open shot, score or draw a foul. With a good ball handler the odds of getting one of the 3 options are pretty good.

  • @jaybate-1.0 LOLOLOL…You should’ve buffered that one. Jed fell into the cement pond from laughing on that one.

  • Buffer 1

  • @cragarhawk I thought we should have been in a zone to keep Doke on the floor.

  • cragarhawk said:

    Also, as much as I hate to question a HOFer I just continually fail to understand why our late clock/late game offense is always stand and hold the ball and the one guy drive and throw up a circus attempt that usually gets blocked to the stone age… The % of time it actually works cannot be that good. Although, its the only thing we’ve done in that situation for years upon years so perhaps it’s more effective by the numbers than it looks

    Thought provoking. Thanks.

    Always okay to question a coach. Even better to question a HOFer. Why? Because we almost always learn something from deeper scrutiny of Self. The guy has been at this a long time and there are many aspects of what he has learned that he has strategic disincentive to reveal. So: its up to us to ask the sorts of questions you did, so as to infer from the trail of dots what the master is up to, or perhaps stumped about.

    Here is my hypothesis.

    Self figures fatigued players at the end of games as play grows helter skelter from desperation defense by the opponents grow increasingly likely to make bad judgements about running the passing offense. If we don’t pass it, the pass cannot be stolen. If we do not dribble a lot waiting for the clock to run down, the dribble cannot be stolen. If we get the ball in the hands of our coolest impact player with the greatest match up advantage and hottest hand, then if he just stands there with the ball, and waits for the clock to run down, that creates the highest probability of getting a look and a chance for a short three, or two free throws, on a drive. As is typical of Self, this tactic achieves several things simultaneously. It optimizes probability of a scoring attempt. It minimizes likelihood of an offensive breakdown yielding a break away steal of a pass. And its worst case is a miss, or even a steal, that still allows our other four guys to release and deny a fast break score. It is nail-biting to watch. It lacks an element of strategic surprise (the opponent knows exactly what KU is going to do), but, and this is a huge but, it retains, maybe even maximizes tactical surprise. If you have a player like Frank Mason, or Devonte Graham, or Josh Jackson, and you put the ball in his hands 25 feet from the basket, with his teammates spread out, the isolated defender has an enormous amount to think about. Will this great athlete, go right or left? Will he faint the drive, or shoot it? Is there a back screen, or isn’t there? Will he pull up for a floater somewhere along the way, or go to iron? Or will he faint a drive and instead initiate one of those goddamn weaves KU does everyone in a great while in these situations (see Memphis 2008 with a few seconds to go). And any attempt at a double team triggers a pass out to an open man, which likely would be catastrophic. If the defense has a good match up with our guy standing with the ball, the defense usually responds with guarding him head up and helping on him at the last second somewhere in the lane, usually near the rim. If the match up is no good, then they double, or zone. Either way, KU is burning clock, then getting a high probability of a shot and a foul, while maximizing the ability of our other players to release and prevent any rapid score by the opponent.

    Does the tactic result in a score, or even a foul and FT, all the time? No. Refs don’t like to call fouls that award FTs that decide games, if they can possibly help it, but they will call a clear foul on a star player, especially at home. Hence, this play often ends in a very ugly looking FGA by the KU player driving into the opponent, or getting rejected by a post man.

    But does the tactic result in the clock running, avoidance of a strip quickly converting to points, and a timely release of our guys to get back on defense most of the time? Yes.

    Late in a game, Self, the defensive coach, is, as the saying goes, playing the clock first, and the opponent second.

    Hence, if he already has the lead, scoring is probably his fifth priority.

    First priority: make sure the clock is run down.

    Second Priority: make sure you can always get back on defense to deny any quick score (i.e., make them run the clock to score, too).

    Third priority: at all costs, avoid a steal that triggers an unguardable fast break for a quick score.

    Fourth priority: get a shot for your best impact player without giving the opponent a chance to deny him getting the ball.

    Fifth priority: See if your impact player recruited for his athleticism can make a great play and score points with athleticism.

    Notice one last thing here. This approach of Self’s effectively takes the other coach out of the game. By Self creating this strong tendency of doing this at the ends of games, the other coach has to scheme to stop it alone. Self, the defensive coach, knows exactly what the possible defenses are. Thus Self can train his impact player in exactly what to expect. No surprises. Just quick reads: one on one, a double, or a zone. If one on one, drive and create. If double, dribble and pass out to the unguarded man and release. If zone, use more clock, penetrate nearest seam, collapse zone and kick for open trey. And every once in a while Self can throw the other coach and defender a curve ball and run a weave immediately, while the first two weavers to release immediately back to defense, after they have handed the ball off. But that weave is risky (vulnerable to strips) and the only thing it really has going for it is surprise.

    When Self (keeps it simple stupid), his simple is probably more nuanced than a lot of other coaches’ “sophisticated” moves.

    Self’s KISS is thought out in all dimensions.

  • @jaybate-1-0 you have illustrated the scenario with brilliance. I appreciate your effort on it. I can see the value. However, I’d still maintain that is absolutely playing not to lose rather than playing to win. Which generally costs the team that’s doing it. I don’t have the time to go back and watch all the games we have used this late game strategy to find the numbers. Maybe it does work better than 50% of the time. Sure doesn’t feel like it though while it’s going on.

  • @cragarhawk

    I agree with you it has serious risk from letting up on attack mode and momentum.

    I vascillate between Self’s way and your approach.

    But while I fear loss of momentum, his W&L statement with this approach is hard to argue against.

  • @cragarhawk

    As per, KU is 11-0 this season and 396-14 under Coach Self in games when they have the lead with 5 minutes left in the game. I guess he really knows what he is doing.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Awesome stat and that is a reflection on Bill. How much credit does he deserve?Don’t know. Are Bill’s numbers higher than any KU coach? Don’t know that either. What I do know is for over 50 years I have never seen any team fight for victories harder than the Kansas Jayhawks!

  • @JayHawkFanToo absolutely Coach Self has an extraordinary record. That is not in question. But do you really think the numbers you posted are a clear picture of what I’m talking about? A break down of how many of those games were tied or were led by say 2 points or less and also trailing by 2 or less with a minute to go would be more realistic. How many of those were blowouts? That has no weight. If anything it has merit to support what I’m saying. We run offense or try to that is for 39 minutes which generally builds a lead obviously cause we win over 80% of the time. Meaning that strategy works. As I’ve said we hear Coach talk constantly of the ball sticking and how we labor to score when it does. I don’t think it’s inconceivable to ask why we move away from what clearly works when the game is tight and on the line. I’m very inclined to say obviously to CS the risk isn’t worth the reward. He would rather the opponent doesn’t have the opportunity to beat us in regulation and that we maintain possession and thus the chance to win the game or let it go to over time. I appreciate the time that you and @jaybate-1-0 have taken to explain your thoughts on it. It helps make some sense of it. Still not certain I agree with it. But I doubt CS will lose any sleep over that 😊

  • @cragarhawk Bill seems to prefers running the chop play that he came up with. There is enough tape out there on it he may want to keep any new wrinkles under his hat. It’s a safe bet if ku needs a bucket the chop play will be run. If it’s tied I think he lets the players just play more often than not.

  • @cragarhawk

    Interesting post!

    Most late-game strategy is usually to get the ball in the hands of your best scorer and then clear out. Sometimes it is made more difficult with ball screens. I’m not a fan of that, most of the time because ball screens can fail easier at the end, when defense knows it has to stand up. In the least, the screener better have good offense himself, opening for a potential pick and pop/roll or otherwise you just invite a double-team on your #1 scorer.

    And then there are the “twists.” Those are the secondary options. So your big scorer is being doubled in his iso and is fighting to drive for shooting space… then he feeds another open shooter to take the winning shot.

    I love to see this happen. I love to see unexpected heroes!