Why We Lost to Iowa State

  • I have to admit, I agree somewhat with the Debbie downers over on KU Sports that not having Embiid hurt us in this game. Niang wouldn’t have been able to do half the things he did with him in there.

    That said, Black and Traylor did not play good post defense at all. Therefore, Niang did whatever he wanted.

    There seemed to be an overall lack of energy, and Iowa State seemed faster to the ball than KU did.

    It would have been nice if Wiggins was more aggressive in the first half, but that didn’t cost them the game.

    What cost them the game was poor post defense and not mentally committed to defending the drive. When they did get out and guard the perimeter, Iowa State just threw it into Niang and he scored.

    Yes, KU probably would have won with Embiid. However, this is no substitute for defensive intensity, something that they had against Okie State but did not have tonight.

    Does losing this game mean that they wont make it to the final four? Not at all. There are very few teams that are as bad of a matchup as Iowa State is. Also, in the tournament, you don’t have to play two days in a row.

    If they can get by the first two rounds and get Embiid back for the Sweet Sixteen, they should be in pretty good shape to get to Jerry’s World.

  • Yes… our post defense couldn’t handle Niang and company. But then… those guys are tough and not many defenses out there are able to shut them down. The game would have been different with JoJo… it still would have been a tough game to win.

    It was clear ISU wanted this game more.

    I’m not looking ahead in the big tourney beyond our first game. We have to win 4 straight to make it to the FF… and that will be tough with or without JoJo… because we need solid, aggressive PG play… something that seems to have disappeared.

    Look at this game… who was our leader? I can’t pinpoint anyone. How can you win-out in March without a leader.

    I know the score was fairly close in this game… but I look at it and I ask myself, “what was that?” Like… “what was that offense?” I know we racked up a decent total, but what was that offense? Where was the hi/lo? I mostly recall us running the perimeter weave… over and over and over…

    I’m having a hard time identifying who this team is in the past couple of weeks. I don’t think it is because Embiid is out. Even Self said we are running everything just like normal. Does their play look “normal?”

    All of that puts me into shock. It also kills my confidence in a March drive. I’m definitely not critical about Andrew’s alpha-dog coming out! That is a welcome sight… but I don’t see that carrying us to a national title. He can’t score 40 every night… tonight was an example of that.

    And when Self is interviewed he doesn’t talk about the real issue with this team. It certainly isn’t whether or not JoJo is playing. The real issue we have is PG play. We can’t go far without someone quarterbacking this team.

    This is starting to feel like deja-vue. Last year’s season rolling into March and questions arising about consistent PG play.

  • @drgnslayr The thing about last year’s game with Michigan is that they were a couple brain farts away from winning that game.

    I agree with you about Nadiir to an extent. I think Nadiir’s problem is that he isn’t shooting well and therefore is shying away from leading.

    Nadiir’s ability to lead does not make Jamari and Tarik guard Niang better, nor does it help the rest of the guys guard the perimeter better.

    Hopefully his poor shooting is causing his drop in confidence and he will heat up in the tournament.

  • @drgnslayr well said.

    I kept waiting for us to make a run. But to make a run you have to make some stops, and usually that starts with perimeter pressure. There was none.

    When we did make the stop, we never pushed the ball. Where were the transition points? Did we get a single lob?

    I’m starting to wish Bill Self would take a couple pages out of the Shaka Smart playbook. Even if it results in some easy layups for the opponents. I thought this team would be athletic enough and deep enough to be capable of creating havoc, but we’re not challenging teams on the perimeter and then allowing them to get the shot they want all game long.

    Watching Niang drive from the top of the key all the way to the basket was disheartening. It feels like we were consistently giving him too much room to operate, and were content to let him go and then try to challenge at the rim. Does that guy really have the footspeed to drive all the way to the cup on us, over and over? Something is broken here.

    Why did guys not named Selden or Wiggins hesitate to shoot the 3 ball early in the game? Perry hit 1, but he hesitated to shoot a couple others where he was wide open, and Naadir did not attempt one.

  • @drgnslayr Was just criticizing the lack of PG leadership (and the weave) on another thread. At this point…it is what it is. You can often tell early what kind of game Tharpe is going to have. Most times he has a careless turnover or two in the first handful of possessions. Tonight he came down on the first possession and chucked up a shot just inside the arc before we ever got into any offense or rebounding position. I knew there he wasn’t plugged in.

    The perimeter weave was eerily similar to the way I remember our offense looking often in '09. It was weave and wait for Sherron to find an opening to his liking and drive it. Tonight, substitute Wiggins for Sherron. The only other discernible offense was getting the ball to Perry (or Jamari to a lesser extent) on the high blocks and having them drive it.

  • @icthawkfan316 not much here, you all have said it. One question, how many teams could have stopped ISU tonight?

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    One. Themselves.

  • This game is a bit tricky to analyze.

    Self clearly decided that the surest way to win the game was to:

    1. score through Perry;

    2. speed ISU up;

    3. run lots of weaves to make them slide;

    4. sub freely the first half;

    5. play Brannen a lot to keep the pace up the second half in order to save your bigs for the stretch;

    6. try to tire their legs out to drive down their trey percentage the last ten minutes; and

    7. go big the last ten minutes and wear them out inside with Wigs, Perry and Tar.

    KU executed the plan pretty well, but was undermined by KU’s poor shooting inside and out in part due to ISU intermittently running a kind of zone defense I was not familiar with and that the KU players seemed confused by too. Still, KU went into half time with a 2 pt lead largely because ISU got tired and missed its last six shots of the first half.

    During half time it was clear what Hoiberg would have to do. He had to send his players out balls to the walls at the start of the second half in hopes of building up a lead with a mix of trey shooting and Niang’s inside game BEFORE his team lost its trey shooting legs and had to narrow attack to close to the basket. Self knew this and played it close to the vest, hoping to keep it close until ten to go when KU would put its bigs back in and grind an exhausted ISU into defeat.

    Alas, the second half went as scripted by Hoiberg. ISU jumped out to a lead that grew until it was double digits with 12 to go and KU had to turn on the gas to keep it from getting away from them. But KU turned out not to have a lot of gas in its tank to come from behind. By ten minutes to go, KU had barely narrowed the ISU lead. But as if on a time clock, ISU’s three point game dried up at the ten minute mark as Self apparently maneuvered to have happened. It was at this point that something very strange unfolded.

    ISU without its trey game had to go inside to Niang. Niang is a short, but exceptional post player and none of KU’s bigs could handle him one on one. It was at this point that KU was logically supposed to do one of two things.

    KU could either start doubling Niang, as it had OSU’s big so well the day before.

    Or KU could go zone, knowing OSU had lost its trey shooting legs, and use the zone to cut Niang off entirely from the basket down low.

    Either ploy would have worked. Close off ISU’s inside game, when it had no trey game, and on the other use Wigs, Perry and Tar to cram the inside offense down their throats, and KU would be a winner. And it would be a winner even though it had shot poorly. In most other stats of the line score, KU had played ISU nearly even.

    But instead of doubling down on Niang, or going to zone, KU stayed in m2m, and let ISU spread it out wide and then it shushed repeatedly to the iron for high percentage two point shots and a FT on a foul.

    For reasons beyond my ability to explain, Self seemed not even to consider either doubling down, or zoning. Zoning frankly, was the surest way to shut of ISU’s inside game and force it to try treys on tired legs. Even Self’s 3 man m2m and 2 man big man zone would have worked.

    Instead Self stuck with m2m and watched Niang slice KU to pieces.

    Game. Set. Match.

    Clearly KU’s over time game against OSU had sapped its energy budget for ISU.

    But just as clearly, KU could have won the game had it been able to deny ISU some of its easy baskets.

    Such was not to be.

    And now it is back to the drawing board to try to figure out how to win two games in three days in the first week of the Madness, regardless of what seed kU gets,

    And then hope Embiid can get back.

  • @JRyman Yes, KU could have done some things better, but that is something to think. How many teams are there that can shoot like Iowa State and drive it if you come out and guard them? Maybe Creighton?

    That’s why everyone needs to not be so negative about this game. They were 11-16 behind the arc. That type of shooting is something you only see a couple times a year in a major conference.

  • how many teams could have stopped ISU tonight?

    @Crimsonorblue22 Interesting question. Answering it depends on how much credit you give them versus how much blame do you put on our defense. I think it’s probably a mixture of both, them playing better than they typically do while us playing worse than we typically do.

    I guess just thinking about it, they would have beat most teams tonight, but they were not unbeatable. We could have beaten them, even without Embiid.

  • @jaybate 1.0 I had considered that they did not have the energy needed to really guard ISU effectively tonight. They looked slow in general and Iowa State was a step ahead.

    I’m with you on wondering why Self didn’t do anything to try to stop Niang. Could it be that he wanted Traylor and Black to get better at one on one post defending? Doesn’t seem like a very good idea if that is what he was thinking.

  • @DinarHawk Traylor sure can’t play behind him! I call that butt ball. Some double teams sure would have helped! Creighton would be a nightmare for us too! As far as I’m concerned, the championship game was last pm. I think we get a 2 seed.

  • Self said it post game that most teams you try and force to shoot 3s. Not ISU.

    He also said how many centers and PFs can shoot the three like that.

  • @DinarHawk

    "The thing about last year’s game with Michigan is that they were a couple brain farts away from winning that game. "

    To be honest… we should have won a national championship last year. We had a veteran club that played well together… except for our inconsistent PG play. I don’t want to go back and rant on EJ. He never was cut out to shift over and play PG… and the fact that he did tells me how big a heart that guy had for Jayhawk basketball. EJ… R.I.P.!

    I just don’t understand Self on this one. Maybe someone can help me out here… I know Self was a guard at OSU. Was he a PG? I’ve always wanted to know. He does well with big men, but we so often have issues at PG. And it doesn’t seem like we recruit top notch PGs either. I’ve posted plenty about the importance of PGs to success… and it seems like we can’t nail that spot down (recently). EJ was a 2. Heck… TT was a 2, too. Naadir is a 2.

    But when I read up on the recruiting trail, Self is always out pitching more big men.

    BTW: I don’t want to bag on Tharpe. The guy is playing far above his skill level from HS. He wasn’t a top notch recruit… and once again… he was a 2 and asked to become a PG!

    At this point… I’m feeling pretty lost… it feels like we should have ran Mason at PG from Day 1 of this season. Then slide Tharpe over to his natural position (the 2) and have him play backup PG to Mason. Then… have Selden also play the 2, and give him some backup at the 3, with Wiggins.

    Mason makes plenty of freshman mistakes… because… he is a freshman! But he would have worked out many of those mistakes by now if he had been our starting PG from Day 1. Imagine if he had the confidence, and played solid, what he would be bringing to this team right now? First… he would have penetration capabilities. Second… he might be outperforming Tharpe on defense by now. I said might because so far he hasn’t proven himself on d. Third… then Tharpe’s role is to score at the 2! He has been our best 3-pt shooter this year, and he should be out there popping 3s instead of focusing on how to run the team.

    I could just as easy put Frankamp all year as our PG. But… we need at least one of our guys at the 1 or 2 position driving the ball. Remember back to 2012. We had TRob… and we had TT… That combination was good enough to get us to the championship game! TT had finally figured out how to finish those drives, and if he wasn’t driving we had the hi/lo and TRob. That wasn’t a star-studed team. We went a long ways with the manpower we had.

    Now… when the hi/lo isn’t working we sort of just play mystery offense. Maybe a weave and then someone shoots a contested shot.

    I wish we had a PG that could drive with leadership skills… a 2 that can bomb the 3… a 3 that can drive or bomb the 3… and a 4 and 5 capable of scoring with the hi/lo. We aren’t far off from having that.

    But instead… we have ZERO leadership from the point. No driving. So our offense is fragmented and often not running anything specific. Tonight we had several possessions where guys gunned the 3 on the 2nd or 3rd pass to start the possession. In the old days that would get you bench time. Now… Self doesn’t even react. We had a lot of really horrible offensive possessions.

    I’m ranting about our offense since I’ve sort of given up on our defense. It looks like we are just going to have to play games and try to outscore our opponents by playing a little better on offense.

    Guess I have to admit the obvious… our defense IS Joel Embiid!

    JoJo… get the heck well ASAP!

  • Just think where we would have been without Jeff the past 2 years? Not only are we spoiled but how bout’ Bill? If we’re lucky enough to get the right draws next weekend & survive, maybe we still have a shot. Without Joel, we’ll never get past the sweet 16. JMO

  • EJ was a 2. Heck… TT was a 2, too. Naadir is a 2

    @drgnslayr People made that rationalization for EJ all last year, for TT at times, first I’m hearing of it from Naadir. I guess my question is, what makes you think they were/are 2s? ESPN recruiting listed all 3 as PGs (rivals only lists “G, F, C” ). I looked up all three players in articles from the kusports archives. When they committed, all indicated they were PGs (in EJs case, that he was moved there his senior year of high school). I just think that is a cop out to say they are playing out of position, when they all played the position in high school and they are recruited as such. Because they struggle they are more suited for the 2?

    As for not recruiting top notch PGs…Josh Selby? We were also in on Tyus Jones this year.

  • @drgnslayr-Check…That team wasn’t star studded…but at least two of those 5 starters are on NBA rosters now, & TT has been at times. That’s PDG talent from where I sit. How many of the 5 KU starters tonite will be on rosters in the L when they’ve moved on? Think maybe 2, or stretch to 3? I think 2 of the 5 ISU guys tonite will be there next year, & maybe even Niang when he goes, as well as he shoots from deep. I know it’s tough to tell, & I’m not trying to show you up, but rather what I’m saying is we just got beat by an older & more mature & savvy bunch of guys & our guys just haven’t been there yet. Plus, Hoiberg is no flippin cupcake to boot. I’m not saying we were out coached either, but that technical was huge for the mindset of his guys, just friggin huge. It not only worked to get the crowd into the mix, but got the refs to square up the calls a tad more evenly. And after all of this schpiel about that, I’m on board with you too that we just simply have not seen an elite, top notch, grade A PG under Self for several years running now.

  • @drgnslayr just a couple of thoughts, Mason is soooo short, hurts driving and playing d. TT was 6 3, I think, he was quick . I blame the michigan game more on self than EJ. Not calling a to during the 10 sec call, etc. I’m still undecided on Conner. Just wish we could make some outside shots, consistently!!! Oh, and defense! Bla bla bla!

  • @drgnslayr I said in an earlier post that the team looked tired and did not have the same energy as it did yesterday.

    Self said in an interview that it was fatigue that contributed to the loss, and that it affects a team’s defense more than offense. After playing with great effort defensively yesterday, including Selden chasing Smart the whole game, it would not surprise me if this is the case.

    Like I said, the first two games in the tournament are not going to be this tough. I would be very surprised if in the first two rounds they played two teams the caliber of Okie State and ISU.

    Just trying to be positive after the loss. 🙂

  • @DinarHawk I like your silver lining attitude, really I do, but we are 8-5 since we lost our first league game to Texas. That doesn’t give me a whole lot of confidence going into the tourney.

    Their 11-16 was disturbing because we didn’t guard the three ball. The announcers kept pointing it out, we were just watching the ball until it was too late.

    So I am quite concerned about this team. We’ll probably be a 3 or maybe even a 4, and with 9 losses, should we expect a better seed than that? I don’t care that we played the toughest schedule because we played tough teams and lost to a lot of tough teams. Sure we beat some of them too.

  • @wissoxfan83 I agree with what your saying wissox. They may end up with a two seed, but that doesn’t matter if they don’t bring it every single game.

    The thing about it, that’s the concern I’ve had every year. They didn’t bring it in 2010 or 2011 and lost. The Michigan was a different deal. But they simply did not show up for the games against VCU and Northern Iowa (sorry to bring those up again).

    We’ll just have to see what happens in the tournament and hope that they play with a sense of urgency.

  • @icthawkfan316 maybe we win if we didn’t have the osu game last pm.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Not trying to make excuses for their performance, but it is a possibility. They played extremely hard yesterday to beat OSU and I think it drained them a little bit.

  • I liked what Ellis said in the locker room to the team about their defense being unacceptable. Maybe this game will teach them to take the defense up a notch in order to pursue their post season goals.

    It says something about the situation when Perry Ellis is speaking up about what needs to be done.

  • @DinarHawk and an area he especially needs to work on!

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Maybe he’s starting to realize that.

  • @DinarHawk I’m sure! Do you know some of those negative posters on KU sports?

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Thank goodness no. Can’t stand being around negative people.

  • @DinarHawk they certainly don’t bring out the best in me!

  • @Crimsonorblue22 I know what you’re saying.

    Instead of posting ideas on how to correct problems and identify solutions, they ramble on about the certainty that negative outcomes will occur rather than the possibility of positive outcomes.

  • @DinarHawk Rodney Crain, anyone know him?

  • I have thought for some time, and continue to hope, that Bill Self is refusing to show his full hand regarding compensatory defenses. Ford and Hoiberg, out of necessity to survive, threw some change-ups at us on the defensive side of the court. Bill Self either senses that his squad cannot master basic elements of a zone, or is determined to save any such surprise look for desperation situations in NCAA Tournament play. The Hoops World is fully aware that he seems always to loathe such maneuverings. Yet, at times his former squads have survived and moved on via modified zone defenses, esp. in postseason tournament play. The Embiid factor looms huge in consideration of defensive change-ups, at this stage. A key missing link in our normal m2m pattern is missing. If Self is quietly working on schematic change-ups, will JoJo be able to plug in, when or if he returns? Without him, I expect to see the Jayhawks surprise some unprepared but threatening opponent, probably around the 16:30 mark of a first half; just so that a brilliant schemer like Hoiberg races into a halftime locker room befuddled, or at least uncertain of adjustment. Speaking of Hoiberg and Co., that team certainly appears to be an Elite 8 contender.

  • @DinarHawk I woke up this morning thinking the same thing. In theory, we will not face anyone as good as ISU until the Sweet 16. Sure, someone could shoot 11-18 from 3 in the first 2 games against us, but it’s not likely and I’ll take those odds. But, clearly we need Embiid back to have a good chance at winning in the Sweet 16.

  • @wissoxfan83 I will be very surprised if we are lower than a 2. I don’t think the committee penalizes us for losing to a good team in the conference tournament. Unless they move us down one for Embiid’s injury. I still expect a 2 seed.

  • @jaybate - Your analysis of the loss is excellent.

    “KU could either start doubling Niang, as it had OSU’s big so well the day before. Or KU could go zone, knowing OSU had lost its trey shooting legs, and use the zone to cut Niang off entirely from the basket down low. Either ploy would have worked.”

    But Self chose to do neither.

    Self has chosen this entire season to rely upon his dogmatic approach. He only seems to know or appreciate one way. He doesn’t adjust to fit his players and talent. His players have to adjust to fit him. He runs his system, period.

    He now has a team that 189th in the nation in points allowed. He still has two monumental holes defensively – Tharpe and Ellis. He still has a primary sub that is impotent guarding anyone of skill or size in the post – Traylor. Not much has changed.

    Right, not much has changed. We’re going to play man to man defense regardless of whether we’re successful. That’s what we do.

    It doesn’t matter that, physically, this team playing zone made more sense.

    Prior to the tournament, I noted that with our defensive deficiencies, that we could not rely upon our defense – we’d have to tactically approach the game to outscore the opponent. Many ways to do that. Increase possessions by shooting quicker, pressure defense,etc. Heck, just having the guy closest to the ball throw it in after a made basket can help.

    We clearly did not do that last night – meaning a tactical approach to scoring more. We did the same thing we always do.

    And against the dreaded hot shooting team, coach Self’s teams will do what they always do. But this time, he has absolutely no rational basis to bank on his defense.

  • @Hawk8086 I think a 2 seed would be a gift, I’ll take it, but we don’t deserve it in my opinion. There’s really not much difference between a 2 or a 3, so it doesn’t matter too much I guess.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 " Rodney Crain, anyone know him?" LOLOLOL…I just spewed my coffee on that one… I looked up lousy fan in my dictionary, and staring back at me was lil butthurt Rodney… guys like that aren’t fans, they are critics. We have them on here as well, unfortunately.

  • I thought this game was very entertaining.

    I like the way we run the Harlem Globetrotter shuffle. How we put the ball on the floor and between the legs of the opponents. How we throw up half court hook shots and throw buckets of water into the crowd.

    I like how we prance around and spin like little ballerinas in pink tutus.

    I like how every single person that I watched the game with shook their heads simultaneously and said " Has any one of these guys ever seen a basketball before? "

    I look forward to the day when we have two or three juniors or seniors on the team, no matter where frickin Rivals rates them. Mickey D can bite me too.

  • @wissoxfan83 You are basing that, I assume, on the recent losses to WVU and ISU. The committee looks at the entire season’s body of work, while also looking at recent trends (and I do see your point on that issue). I don’t see them penalizing us for losing to ISU…they are a good team. Other teams are having some problems also. But as you say…not a lot of difference between a 2 and a 3. I would like to be a 2 in the Midwest, though.

  • @KUSTEVE I agree about a lot of the posters on the other site. I can’t stand the negativity. Yes, our team has issues, but there are ways to express your feelings on those issues without sounding like a negative nancy. I just scan the comments and look for Oak’s post. His posts are right on the money.

  • @KUSTEVE is that his real name and real pic?

  • @Hawk8086 Well, I ran into one of the most negative posts I have ever seen on this site the other day. I was shocked. It pissed me off. These aren’t fans…they have went way beyond that. I’m not sure what to label them, because the word “critic” just doesn’t seem to encapsulate it. If watching your team not playing well sends you off into such fury that you have to spew nasty, horrible accusations, then maybe you shouldn’t watch basketball, and should seek professional help.

  • @jaybate 1.0 I learn so much each time I read your analyses. Thank you.

  • @Hawk8086 Well said.

    There are low odds that there will be a team as good as Iowa State until the Sweet Sixteen, and if there are upsets, not until the Elite Eight.

    And they wont have to play two teams with top ten talent two days in a row. That does help.

  • @KUSTEVE Agree 100%

  • @drgnslayr where are you? No floor burns award?

  • I posted this in a different thread but this one seems more appropriate.

    A few scattered thoughts about yesterday’s game.

    The offense played reasonably well. If you score 83 points, there is a good chance you will win.

    The defense was out of sync with no weak side help resulting in many uncontested baskets; Coach Self will fix that.

    The technical on the Mayor turned the game around. After that call, all the calls started going to ISU; I wish Coach Self would gotten a “T” to get the refs back to normal.

    The defense allowed too many open shots; however, when the other team shoots close to 60% from the 3, your options are limited; if you play tight a foul is called, if you try to contest the shot, it probably ends up in afoul as well. This is one of those games for ISU that Fraschilla calls playing “out of their minds” and can do no wrong. Also, when two good teams play 3 games in a season, it is very, very hard to get a sweep.

    This was game of runs and KU ran out of time to put together one last run. Oh well.

    On a good note, with all the upsets happening this weekend Lunardi still has KU as #2 seed; before all is said and one, it might end up a #3 seed, but either is not too bad.

    How spoiled of a fan base are we? At this time of the year, fans from most other programs worry if their teams will make it to the dance in the first place; we, on the other hand, complain loudly about KU not trying hard, playing poorly…you name it. In the mean time, the teams will quietly secure a high seed like it does year after year. We should be so happy to have the team we have and count our blessings we live in Kansas, the only state with at least 3 Division 3 teams that will send all 3 teams to the dance for the third year in a row. We could live one state East and have only the non-state school (St. Louis) going to the dance and the flagship university and former rival headed to the NIT. Something to ponder.

    P.S. Am I the only one that find Brent Hamburger the most annoying announcer on TV? Why do we have to get stuck with him?

  • @JayHawkFanToo ps, he gags me!!!

  • @JayHawkFanToo How about BurntBurger?

  • Seems as though most of the key bigtime losses in the Bill Self era involve opponents’ fortunate 3 pt. percentages. I suppose that speaks to our sometimes weak m2m perimeter defense…

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