Why we did not win - part 3

  • Nova is a better team, athletes and players, best program in the country over the last five years. If we played them ten times, we would lose eight or nine.

    They shot lights out early and got confidence, the basket grew and most shots where swishes from downtown. The set the record for made threes (tied it in the first half!). That shot at the start of the second half after we had a glimmer of hope as the shot clock expired, from way downtown…enough said.

    Their front court was better than ours and their back court was better than ours, deeper and more versatile. (In the title game their bench guy 6th man scored 31 and was named Final Four MVP…wow! that is depth and many weapons at a whole different level, GREAT O and much better than average D, just a complete deep team with talent and experience, 'hats off to the program and this year’s crew and coach Jay - they are truly the elite college team)

    So, in summary, we (and everybody else) was completely outclassed, offensively and defensively and Villanova was peaking at just the right time. There is NO WAY we could have jacked up 40 three pointers, come on man!

    Also, the number of threes depend on the quality of the shot, not quantity of shots attempted… You either have to step back and take a looooooong one from way downtown, or your O scheme has to allow for open catch and shoot looks, then knock 'em down. No one is going to get his own consistently off the dribble at the college level.

    The way they were running their offense and the quality of looks against our average D was not going to be successful unless they missed and got tight, and the opposite happened.

    BTW…the Big East is NOT mid-major, come on man! It is a good conference. And Nova peaked at just the right time…like a court full of Newmans confidence wise in their shots in March. That team would beat anybody consistently at the end of the year. They would outscore with great O or grind it out with strong D. The great defensive teams this year (like UV or MSU or TTor WVU) did not have the fire power and the great offensive teams (like KU) did not have the D to compete and win consistently against that team, this year, in March.

    The ONLY thing KU could have done which we did not do was close out better on their three point shooters which MIGHT have disrupted their rhythm just a little. We tried but were a step too slow and with the big guy we could not protect the three point line after the switches. They had SEVEN players hit a three in the first half and all starters had at least two threes in the first half! Unreal. Once they got going, it was a fret train.

    TT was the best defensive team in out conference this year and they disrupted a little bit more the open threes that Nova creates through mismatches and GREAT ball movement. WVU is good and their press is really good. Nova beat the field by double digits. And they got better each game!

    Still, as their POY stud point guard said, “if we we were not hitting shots, we would have just grinded it out and still won”…impressive and true, just as they did against TT.

    BRAVO to KU players and coaches who got as much out of this team as humanly possible.

    Great year, lots of fun, no embarrassment in the semis…just ran into a buzz saw who shot it lights out. Thanks to all in KU nation for a highly entertaining year. We overperformed, be proud and happy and supportive. Well done!

    GREAT Big 12 champs again (14 straight is amazing), Big 12 touney champs w/out Dok was impressive, GREAT GREAT Elite Eight win over Duke - by far the game of this year’s Madness.

    Now on the next year, as pre-season number one! RCJH!

  • Big facts. 👍

  • Refreshing to find someone that is willing to admit the truth. – - - The pain and simple fact like you said - Villanova just plain and simple the better team. It always sucks when you lose , doesn’t matter really when you lose losing period just plain sucks. But yet makes me feel better to realize that some can give the credit where the credit -is do. instead of taking 3/4 of the day and try to make up an excuse - -any excuse but the real excuse as to why we got beat.

    Doesn’t mean we suck or that we played a horrible game - we really didn’t play THAT BAD - it’s just that they played better. - you used a ten game series with them winning probably 8-10 - - I gave the example of a 3 game series and said they would probably win all 3. I know some here probably think that’s just sacreligious ( I know ) not spelt right so beat me already lol - – many just couldn’t phantom that with out some major excuse like the refs screwed us -or ya da ya da ya da. - -After I had time to coup and regroup realized we got beat by a team that a lot of people thought was going to win anyways - another # 1 seed - -a team that had been ranked what? - like in the top 5-7 in the country all year?

    I’m still really proud of our guys - we just didn’t have it that’s all. not the only team Villanova beat solidly in the tourney. - - Devonte- -& SVI gave what they had as Seniors – -there can be only one winner in the tourney , everyone else ends their season with an L W we just run into a better team this year that’s all that can be said. - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • …and thanks to all participants of this board for ‘over performing’ this year, as well. A few minor squabbles here and there but overall consistently insightful and spirited discussion. Adds a whole other dimension for me as I process points/counterpoints and settle on the realization that the truth usually lands somewhere in the middle.

  • Tough to lose when we make the F4. But as Self said yrs ago, once you’re in the F4, anything can happen, good opponents, any weaknesses may show themselves, or an off shooting night can send you home as it did for Frank Mason’s final 2 KU teams (Nova in ‘16, Oregon in ‘17).

    KU was playing well since Big12 Tourney, Malik had certainly turned a corner, and Silvio became serviceable, actually surpassing Ltfoot. But to me, what showed up vs Villanova was 2 glaring problems: Poor D/inability to consistently get stops, which the defensive stats of this season easily reveal. And secondly, that bothersome ability of opposing Ds to guard beyond the perimeter & shut down our 3 shooting. Put it this way, somebody was going to scout the KU losses to WashSt and ASU, & try to disrupt our O. How many 3s did we shoot the first half vs Nova?

    Credit Jay Wright, his team BLITZED KU and werent afraid on a big stage. The only way to claw back from 22-4 deficit is to , uh, get stops, which is the biggest glaring statistical weakness for this team, compared to other Bill Self products.

    Of course I feel the worst for Devonte & Svi, as they gave everything, just as Frank did.

    To me, the Tourney hopes seemed to come down to if someone could knock off Villanova for us…. Dont like the sound of that? Neither do I, but that’s the reality of the fragility of this team’s statistical evidence. My fellow diehard KU alum brother-in-law says “you want to beat the best”, but I reminded him that NC banners and trophies do NOT come with asterisks, no one is going to remember years from now, nor really care, that KU got an easy path victory…

    But, alas, that didn’t happen. Villanova was right there, waiting for us, and marched right thru WVU, TxTech, then blitzed right thru us. They looked like a NC team, and ended up getting Michigan as well. So, credit Jay Wright for upping his game, as I joked a few yrs ago (pre-Ochefu) that he was cant-recruit-a-big-Jay Wright, but he has clearly turned that around with Ochefu, Paschall, and Spellman…a guy who plays not like Marcus or TRob, but more like Andre Drummond of GSWarriors (NBA-Drummond).

    I would slightly disagree with the above comment about Nova being more “athletic” than us. Its more about how that athleticism was deployed. Our athletes couldnt guard their athletes: story of the season (which is nothing new this season). Brunson was described by studio analysts as “slower” than Devonté, but his unorthodox turn-around, surprise shot/pass reminded ne of DJAugustin’s similar tendencies…catch people off guard, literally.

    Final thought on our defensive ineptitude: if we could have turned up the D, 22-4 hole likely never happens. Self said by the time it was 22-4, we’d have to “play perfectly”, which includes D…

    So, while I loved this team’s battle for #14, which truly does put them and KU in the books for a 30-40 yr record (like UCLA?), and their exhilarating Final 4 run, with a classic W over Duke, I realized as soon as Nova hoisted that NC trophy, that our countdown to ‘18-19’s has begun. I wonder how our team O and team D will look, considering Self’s past dominance in various key, telling categories.

    I wish Devonte,Svi, and whoever else wants the NBA, gets their dream, we will love them always! RCJH. FOE. Our home is their home now.

  • @Ralster Solid post but I disagree re: athleticism. A big reason this KU team lacked on defense is because the guards couldn’t keep anyone in front of them. Graham, Svi and Newman are very average athletically for TOP LEVEL college hoops or the NBA. Vick has the tools but is a floater.

  • NFW we lose 8 or 9 out of 10. I don’t have crimson & blue glasses, but we’re better than that. Maybe 50/50. If you don’t believe me, set up a 10 game series.

  • @BShark Yes, I did elaborate a bit more on the “athleticism” thing under HEMs great thread: the D deficiency of ability definitely exists, we all saw it painfully evident all season, but I’d hate to do analytical injustice by assigning the reason to athleticism differences between 2 upper echelon D1 programs—is there that big of a difference in athleticism between Nova’s NOTkentucky-level of athletes vs ours?

    I don’t pretend to have the answer, or else I’d tell Bill Self quickly to save him from more stress-related belly fat, but my question is why some athletes have the reflexes/instinct/footwork to play D, while others less so? Classic example was EJ couldnt keep his man in front him, so the less athletic Brady started in front of him x 2 yrs, because he could play D and feed the post. Nobody on this site would say that Brady was more athletic than 5star Elijah Johnson, but the difference in D ability was painfully profound—Why? It’s clearly not athleticism. 6’6 Rush could play great D, while 6’6 BGreene could not. Svi played great D on Bagley, while Vick did less well against nonBagley-level athletes. VanVleet great defender, not a great athlete, again, sorta like Brady.

    And its not because of “heart” or “want to”, lets just put that to rest right away, as again too simplistic. You cant tell me these KU kids lacked heart, just ask Duke.

    But we keep seeing too much help D sagging, time and again, year after year…

    So, is it scheme, innate tools in each player, or a combination of many factors? … which is where I’ll put my vote. Just wish I could put my finger on why some of our high level athletes can play D while others cannot? Or lesser athletes like Brady can, while others more athletic couldnt as well?

    The biggest question of the season (poor D) raised its familiar unSelfian head in various games throughout the season.

  • @nuleafjhawk

    Maybe we don’t lose 8 or 9, but I can’t see us winning more than 3 against Villanova. It’s a bad matchup for this team. Doke can’t really guard any of their guys, so we can’t take advantage of having him inside without getting scorched on the other end. That gives them a huge advantage against us. I would guess we go 3-7, with a couple of our wins being pretty close, while they might beat us by double figures two more times in addition to winning a few close ones. We just can’t match up with them in a way that gives us consistent advantages.

  • @justanotherfan Agree about the matchup mismatch. Theres a color picture splattered in USA Today sports section Monday, preNC game, showing Spellman launching a 3 “over” Doke, as Doke is about 6-7 feet away from Spellman. What perfect example, for the whole damn world to see…of poor D technique by Doke, how poor positioning totally negated Doke’s 7ft height. We of course know Doke isnt used to guarding stretch 4s, and it showed. Spellman hit 3x3s at start of 2nd half alone.

  • @Ralster I agree it wasn’t about want to with this group. I think it’s just that Graham and Svi in particular were not capable of elite defense. Newman I think was a step above but still not great.

    I have high hopes for Dotson and KJ and Dedric are tough dudes on D by all accounts. No reason Grimes can’t be a great defender but Self will need to get through to him. Next year has the tools to be great on defense again, so hopefully it comes together.

  • @BShark Agree. Thanks to this team for all they did accomplish. The why’s & why nots become academic now, and things for coaching staff to address in off season & with nxt yrs team. We know we’ll compete, but will be interesting to see how fundamentally sound we get. And what our philosophy on O & D will be.

    Its highly illustrative this season to a Self team not only be 4+1, but play zone D regularly. I understand we can be critical of Self in that loss, but just how many bullets did our Cowboy show up with to the shootout in SanAntone’? He had 5 days to prepare…its simply that this year’s scheme kit & plays kit & skill kit at this team’s best, simply wasnt enough when facing Villanova’s best, which we certainly got. Best game Nova played in their NC run was vs KU. Again the analogy: Self went in there with 3-4 bullets out of 6.

    All that being said, this team has a #14Straight Natl record, and a Final4 banner.

  • The other fact worth mentioning was on the natl scene there were a lot of imperfect high-elite & royalty teams: KU, KY, Duke, UNC. AZ imploded. VA got surprise exit, truly a blemish on Tony Bennet, same as VCwho for Self was. Interestingly, I’ve never seen Coach K so subdued on sideline—definitely wasnt working the refs. He was armed with a less-than usual Duke team, and he knew it. Duke-MichSt was anybody’s game, as was KU-Duke. KU squarely in that tier this yr. Lotsa HOF coaches going to be working out their team flaws for next year…

  • nuleafjhawk said:

    NFW we lose 8 or 9 out of 10. I don’t have crimson & blue glasses, but we’re better than that. Maybe 50/50. If you don’t believe me, set up a 10 game series.

    It wouldn’t be 50-50. I know we’ve played Villanova at least 5 times under Self. KU is 1-4 in those games that I remember. They smoked KU by 20+ in 2006-07, KU beat Nova in the 2008 tournament, Nova beat KU in the Bahamas, 2016 Elite 8, and last Saturday. Villanova has never been a good match up for Self.

  • Villanova is coming to AFH December 15, 2018. I expect serious pay back.

  • @JayHawkFanToo I will be there!

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    That is one game I would not mind watching live. 😸

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