Loss Starts With Self

  • Self is not God. Let’s get that out of the way right now. He is a great coach subject to the same human flaws as the rest of us. And today, he failed KU nation.

    There are times when a coach has to adjust. He has to recognize that business as usual isn’t working. That time arrived in the second half when Stanford went on a 7-0 run to take the lead. Game on. And what did Self do in response? Nothing.

    We can say, well, “we missed a lot of shots.” That happens in basketball. They were contested shots. Stanford was tall, and long. We had to find a way to win. That starts with Self. Instead, we got nothing. Three big reasons that our season is done, all within Self’s control:

    1. Playing Naadir Tharpe: I am so disgusted by Tharpe’s play, but that is second to my disgust with Tharpe even playing. That was Self’s choice and decision. The buck stops there. Tharpe provided nothing in the second half. For the game, he played 26 ineffective minutes. Five points and a whopping 2 assists. He played once again like a scared child. He passed up open looks. He had no ability to penetrate the zone. He had no ability to create anything. It was highly reminiscent of our loss to VCU. Self stuck with his chosen personnel. He saw what Frankamp could do last game. That makes it even worse. But he made the conscious choice to stick with Tharpe. And once again, with Embiid set to return, his lack of adjustment cost us a run at a title. This all ignores Tharpe’s laughable defense. It is so bad standing alone that he should not see the court. Never seen anything like it.

    2. Scheming - Wiggins/Screening Against Zone: Greg Anthony was dead, spot on during the telecast. Anthony said, “Self isn’t doing anything to help scheme for Wiggins.” Anthony asked for Wiggins to be moved to the high post when attacking the zone. Absolute brilliance. Self didn’t adjust. We just banged our head against the wall. Stanford completely took Wiggins away. It is Self’s job to counter-punch. That’s what coaches do and Self failed miserably. Two main things – 1) what Anthony said. When it became apparent in the second half that things we getting dicey, moving Wiggins to the high post and putting Ellis out on the wing. Is it a sure fire solution? No. But it was an obvious item that could have rendered positive results. 2) Screening against the zone – one of my pet peeves. We pass it around the perimeter, we try to rotate, then an entry pass. Terrific. We were incompetent from three range (see below). So we were a one trick pony. We run set plays against the zone with back screens for dunks. But we completely fail to use effective screening in our supposed zone offense. This is another way we could have freed up Wiggins a bit. We saw coach Self get outcoached early in the season when were weren’t prepared to attack the zone press. Guys weren’t even going to the right spots. Then, vs. SDSU, we couldn’t handle the trapping of our post players. Self admitted that they knew that was coming, but didn’t get ready for it sufficiently. Against Stanford, Self flat let us down. Imagine, further, if we would have pressed for most of the game. Stanford didn’t have a point guard. Yet we let them walk it up the court. We’re down Embiid, they have greater height and poor ball handling, and we play their game. Self let us play Texas Tech’s game, too. Remember?

    3. Three Point Shooting: It is something I identified way early in the season – horrible three point shooting. This chicken came home to roost today. We had no ability to shoot them out of their zone, or to make them pay. Self played Tharpe 26 minutes and he shot only three, three-pointers. Wiggins, Tharpe, and Selden combined for only six three point attempts in the entire game. I chuckled when Frankamp entered the game late. It would be comical if it wasn’t both infuriating and pathetic. Why wasn’t he playing over Tharpe the entire second half? But this three point shooting issue was one that Self permitted to occur. He had the ability to adjust it, plan for, and attack it head on. This team was not prepared to win a game from the three point line. Think we would have kept up with Dayton’s three point shooting?

    This all goes back to coach Self. He refuses to adjust and is content with losing doing it his way simply because he has won doing it his way. It’s a coach’s job to know when to adjust. Today was prime example of an epic failure in that regard.

  • I don’t know where the blame lies… probably not in any one place.

    All I will say is that this team did not tend to:

    1. cherish every possession
    2. work an opponent over to reveal a weakness and then exploit it.

    We just didn’t have the kind of killer instinct – play in and play out – that you see with the more seasoned teams. I think this quality comes from upperclassmen who have had some painful losses and have had time to reflect on where the games are won and lost (e.g., not in the final 30 seconds).

    Also- this team tended to get lulled into false-comfort. Probably the worse thing that could happen to this team is to hit a three at the end of the first half to take the lead.

    On Friday, we took over the second half on two plays that have to be considered low percentage-- an offensive rebound on a missed free-throw and outback.

    The win makes you feel pretty good about your talent, but you have to realized the context – you got something in that game you can’t count on in other games. A false-sense of security leads to a listless feel in the team…

  • @HighEliteMajor Well I can’t disagree. Poor (or non-existent) in-game adjustments. The Former Pro commentators were unanimous about how to attack the zone…get to the middle of it. Our efforts inside reminded me of SDSU. I got sick of seeing Traylor and Ellis trying to take it inside with no results. Stanford’s length intimidated and / or altered our shots. I would like to have seen Perry step outside, or in the middle of the zone and hit the jumper. He must have Spaulding (or whomever makes the bballs these days) stamped on his forehead. We couldn’t match up inside and should have tried something…anything else.

  • We’re not the same team when our point blank shots get challenged. I saw a stat where we were 9 for 21 in the paint. We finally begin to press, because we’re playing a team with no point guard, and immediately the game changes. Of course, we wait until 3 minutes left to employ that, which was about two minutes too late. It reminds me eerily of the VCU loss.

  • @HighEliteMajor-Hopefully Bill will learn as much from this as is so obvious. Hindsight is always greater & sometimes instincts take control, but inside of 3 minutes we’ve had some real stingers in the past few years. Michigan & misery immediately come to mind. At lleast we didn’t blow another 10 point lead & fall on our butts. Maybe I’ll be in a better frame of mind to dissect this later, but I have to agree with you on Tharpe & Conner. My instincts would have had Conner or even Selden on the floor with 4 fouls instead of Na. Conner was a def liability at times, but less than Tharpe IMO & he can effin shoot the lights out, even coming in cold off the bench. I have to let this settle a little for now, but it was right there before us & we laid another egg. You win as a team & lose as a team, but for 2 straight years, Bill’s been caught with his damn fly unzipped.

  • And the freshmen pros at Kentucky beat the #1 seed, just to rub salt in the wounds today…ugh!!!

  • @FarSideHawk It’s been a bad basketball day, as far as I’m concerned.

  • @HighEliteMajor I have never believed Self is a great offensive mind. He is a great defensive mind who instills toughness in his kids. I think he has USUALLY had some pretty smart offensive minds around him. First Jank became a head coach and then Dooley. Plus now Coach Brown is a little busy to come to town and critique the squad.

    Kurtis is a great guy, a great recruiter and a great glue guy between Self and the players. Roberts…a guy with too good of East Coast connections for recruiting to let go. Snacks…well, we know he has great connections for recruiting, but it’s hard to say what else Snacks brings to the table. Probably most of what he knows about offense he learned from Self, so he may not be able to broaden Self’s perspective about offense.

    Self could really use an offensive genius on his staff, but that’s easier said than done. It appears now that he has doubled down on the perceived importance of recruiting one-and-done talent by bringing in Snacks.

    Plus Self always says that most offense comes off broken plays. So we know he really doesn’t value complex offensive strategies as much as he values defense and recruiting.

    The funny thing is, after watching this team and believing all season it was their defense that was not good enough to make a run to the Championship, it was the offense that could supposedly outscore anyone on any given night that let us down today.

  • @HighEliteMajor I agree with you especially point 3. Frankamp was nearly flawless in every aspect yet was not in at the end until it was too late. When on the floor he did many things to make the team better beyond shooting. Sadly Tharpe seemed too eager to get rid of the ball as soon as he got it. Frankamp penetrated with with a couple dribbles just enough to open lanes and make easy passes. Tharpe exchanging passes at near halfcourt creates nothing. I don’t know I probably need a few days.

  • @HighEliteMajor Bill Self does not seem to know how to attack the zone, plain and simple. He’s been zoned so many times through the years, but still fails to adjust or attack. He doesn’t seem to know how to attack the zone. Or, his players aren’t responding to his direction for a zone defense.

  • Oh well, any word on Embiid? I’m really concerned for him. I’m betting he’s back after this miserable experience. Hell, after this experience Selden is back too. Wiggins needs to come back, but we all know he’s gone. Black of course is gone too. In some strange way, Self may have sacrificed this season to show these guys just how “ready” they were for the NBA. I think he even made a statement to Wiggins, even though he’s more likely gone.

  • @jayhawkeyes I don’t want to see Tharpe start another KU game. CF came into his own this game and Self just didn’t capitalize on it. I saw Self give CF a little hand behind the head gesture after CFs last three. I’ll never understand Self’s thought processes at times.

  • @KU Stop it. Self has one of the most complex offenses in D1 bball. His high low motion offense isn’t exactly easy for guys to execute either. I just think he’s too conservative. He doesn’t try anything new. Today was the first time he’s ever pressed with any effectiveness. They actually got results, but too little too late.

  • @HighEliteMajor Nothing? You think Self did nothing? I would agree with a number of things you said, but to say that Self was not making adjustments would be inaccurate.

    Recalling past tournament losses, how many of us lamented not pressing until it was too late? Today we were pressing about mid-way through the second half. And it was effective.

    While we may question Self on the Frankamp-Tharpe minute distribution (I certainly do), how many years have we lamented that Self had capable guys languishing on the bench all year and not preparing them for crunch-time minutes? As I applauded Self yesterday for, he did his best with a very deep bench to keep most everyone frosty and ready to step up when called upon. Frankamp played 18 minutes today. Should it have been more? I certainly think so, but to say that Self stuck wih his chosen personnel (as he has done in years past, i.e. Morningstar) would be inaccurate in my opinion.

    As for three point shooting, I’m not sure what you would have had us do. You say Self had the ability to adjust it, plan for, and attack it head on. How? You complain about Tharpe’s minutes, statistically he was our best 3-point shooter on the season. Frankamp was 4-7 today, but on the season he had been dismal, including Friday when he played enough minutes to be in the flow. Greene was spotty all year and has serious defensive deficiencies (in relationship to Wiggins & Selden, guys he would have been taking minutes from). I’m not sure what you wanted Self to do about this situation. To me he was limited by his personnel and their abilities.

    Again, I agree with a lot of things you said - Tharpe (I think most of the readers know where I stand with him) and scheming. But to say he “failed KU nation” I think is a bit harsh. Wiggins shooting a measly 6 times, regardless of scheme, is unacceptable. Who could have seen that coming? This was the alpha dog right? The one we’ve seen put KU on his back offensively, and all of a sudden he reverts back to the Wiggins we saw early in the year who had to have Self bark at him to be aggressive? And yes missing shots happens in basketball, but Jamari Traylor shoots over 70% from the floor on the year and goes 1-8?

    Anyway, you know I’m not a “Self is God” person, but I found myself blaming him less for the loss today than in some other year’s past.

  • @truehawk93 The complexity of Self’s offensive scheme is a disputed point. If, as you say, Self runs an offense that is Rocket Science, perhaps that is Exhibit A that he doesn’t have a great offensive mind. (Though I do not concede that there is anything that complex about Self’s offense compared to a lot of other college offenses.) And besides, the analysis of one’s “offensive mind” encompasses more than their preferred offensive scheme. It includes one’s ability to diagnose match-up issues and make changes on the fly to put one’s team in the best position to be successful offensively.

    If I had told you before the game that KU would hold Stanford to 60, you would have told me we would win the game easily, right? This wasn’t about waiting too late to press. It was about not having any ideas offensively to get things untracked against a taller team. The press would have been unnecessary if we had done ANYTHING different on offense to get going.

    Fred Hoiberg has a brilliant offensive mind. He isn’t that great with defense. So what did he do? He brought in Doc Sadler. Great move. Did you watch ISU play UNC today? Hoiberg made adjustments to deal with losing Georges Niang. That’s the kind of thing you would like to see from Self when it comes to offense.

  • @HighEliteMajor-Another point I wish to share is what you & I firmly agreed upon late last year, ie., Joel Embid’s increase in playing time would give us a legitimate chance at the NC. Some did not quickly get on ship with us, but only came on board later as his stellar performances progressed into the new year. That’s OK but I really feel as if we had continued without a healthy Joel, we were ultimately doomed to fail. The thing that ticks me about Self so much is his inability to capitalize on actually finding his “lightening in the bottle” in Conner. Stanford had so much length there was no other chance after Black left the game. I kept wondering when Wayne would replace Tharpe but it never happened-6 min, 5,4, no Wayne. But here is our premise in copy from nbcsports 4 + months afterwards. http://collegebasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/03/23/joel-embiids-back-costs-kansas-their-shot-at-greatness

  • Found myself wondering how much Self is missing Dooley, Jankovich, Manning and Ballard.

  • @KU I’m not going to argue Self v. Hoiberg. I don’t think there’s much to compare. Hoiberg doesn’t have Self’s ncaa record. I respect Hoiberg, but doubt Sadler had much to offer Self. In fact, Self supported Sadler going to ISU. He knew it was a step in the right direction for Sadler. What did you expect Self to do? Drop Roberts, Snacks, or Townsend simply to make Sadler an “offensive” minded coach? I disagree about Sadler. He was a poor coach at Nebraska or he would still be there “winning.” He was fired as a head coach. Self’s record speaks volumes. I agree with you to a point, but the rest of your argument is a little off. If Self thought Sadler was so great, he would’ve made room for him on his staff. Sadler is a great guy and he may play a small role with ISU this year. However, we swept them in the conference.

    I’m not sure exactly what you are trying to argue about Self. except he’s not a great offensive coach. I’d be curious to hear your input for how Self won with the '08 team winning the NC. How he outcoached Calipari, who many think is a great Xs and Os. I don’t think one bad loss defines a coach, but he didn’t do a good job this game.

  • @approxinfinity I don’t think any one coach would make that much difference.

  • It all sucks and we’ll all second guess this season. We have to look forward.

  • @icthawkfan316 Appreciate the critique of my thoughts.

    1. Self began pressing today too late; it seems he starts pressing a good bit later than I prefer most of the time. Today, it was effective. My question is, armed with the info about them not having good ball handling, tall, etc., why not go with it earlier? And it I would have gone to it right after the 7-0 run. But he did press earlier than usual (see UNI).

    2. I am most frustrated with our inability to execute an effective zone offense. This left Wiggins nearly useless as they targeted their defense to stopping him. We had no counter-punch. This is the biggest question I have. I cannot say in strong enough terms how simple our zone offensive approach is. @truehawk93 pointed out Self’s complex offense. That is his man to man offense. Not his zone offense.

    3. Three point shooting is a tough one, but here’s my belief: I want a guy that is a dead eye shooter – a Forte, Heslip, etc., in my rotation. The way the game is played now, you have to have that as an option. It is a necessary to have that. Self decided that wasn’t a priority. He set up his rotation without one. That is his fault. And thus our options in attacking and intelligent zone defense is very limited. It’s why I feared the Syracuse match-up. We knew early that our three point shooting, volume wise, was deficient. I posted numbers related to that back in late November, and our volume of threes changed very little. I knew that, you knew that, we all knew that. He also discourages three point shooting until under 15 on the shot clock. He is not a three point shooter friendly coach. His culture is one that jacks with shooters’ minds. He doesn’t create comfort for them. He makes them second guess their shot, and that hesitancy drives potentially great shooters to shooting dismally (in my humble opinion). Again, I want a stud three point shooter as part of any rotation. Self chose against that.

    On Tharpe, my opinion only – I would not have started him. I am trying to figure out what exactly he brings to this team. CF and Mason are both better. Self played Tharpe more minutes today than vs. EKU. Figure that.

    Question for the crowd: Do you think we are playing in the sweet 16 if Tharpe broke his ankle against ISU in the Big 12 semis?

    And, ict, I would never, ever confuse you with a Self is God person.

  • “The thing that ticks me about Self so much is his inability to capitalize on actually finding his “lightening in the bottle” in Conner.”

    @globaljaybird - Well said. Remember when I had the post about going with Lucas, that we needed to be bold to win without Embiid? Maybe I just had the wrong dude. As you noted, Self saw it for his own eyes, then went back to Tharpe. A conscious choice with full evidence that CF was the better choice. I do not understand it.

  • @HighEliteMajor first, it’s hard to press when we’re in serious foul trouble. And it’s just wrong to say that about Tharpe.

  • @HighEliteMajor Good counters.

    We at least agree on Tharpe. 100% on Self. Even when everyone was on the Tharpe bandwagon last year I was openly voicing concerns about the prospect of him being the starting PG for the following 2 seasons. As you say, both Frankamp & Mason are better, ergo next season he really shouldn’t even be in the rotation. But do we think it is likely Self abandons a returning senior starter next year?

  • @HighEliteMajor SO HEM, ARE YOU READY TO CALL FOR HIS JOB!!! GO RIGHT AHEAD MAN. You make valid points but if you can do better than Coach Self then be my freekin guest… If not, then stop posting on here. I am sick of listening to your constant bashing of KU and our future hall of fame coach. You have made me and likely others upset with your continued boohooing and trashing of one of the best programs and coaches in the country.

  • @HighEliteMajor I’ll throw my hat into the ring on this one.

    Three point shooting - I found myself struck by a weird similarity about halfway through the second half. I’ve been a Chicago Bears fan my entire life. And no team has been as inept in the passing game as the Chicago Bears. Long line of very good running backs, good running-game oriented O-lines, and strong defenses. Those are staples of football. Wear down your opponent, right? Not the case today. You can’t win without a passing game. There’s a reason why the Packers embarrass us ever year, and there’s a reason why the Minnesota Vikings don’t win a Super Bowl every year.

    To me, that’s the way it is in CBB. You absolutely must have a guy that can knock down an open look. I don’t mean a guy who’s going to make an open three 50% of the time, I mean 90%. Phil Forte, Brady Heslip, and James Young come to mind. We don’t have that. Self didn’t develop it. We paid the consequence in the round of 32. But we’ve griped about that all year.

    Scheme - This game reminded me of the national championship against Kentucky from a few years ago. We couldn’t go inside. It just wasn’t an option today. We had some nice put backs, but we couldn’t do what we did against EKU on this lineup. Yet, we kept absolutely bashing our heads against a brick wall. Still don’t really understand why Lucas didn’t get much of a look today. He’s got a nice hook, and if nothing else he allows somebody other than Black to pick up a foul. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy with Traylor’s game against EKU but is he really that much better of an option than Lucas? I don’t think so.

    The case of Naadir Tharpe - Why did we stop recruiting Lyle again? I liked what I saw from Frankamp and Mason, but give me a big PG with handles all day. But as for reality, I think it’s fairly open and shut. Naadir has been a terrible liability since the game in Stillwater. CF provided a better option, and Self ignored it. Don’t know what the future holds, but I was greatly disappointed with Tharpe this postseason.

    Self - Don’t get me wrong, love Bill Self. Wouldn’t trade him for anyone. But this is the second consecutive loss in the tournament that falls squarely on his shoulders. I think getting into the argument about when we started pressing is irrelevant. The reason I say this is because it seems that KU fans are of the mindset that “well, we’re winning so why play aggressive.” We knew that Stanford didn’t have a PG coming into this game, and it showed. Don’t wait until you’re down to press, don’t wait until they start coming back to press. Do it as often as you can (especially in the second half). Go for the jugular, don’t let them breathe. That gives us momentum, fires our guys up and gives them confidence (that they desperately needed).

    Oh, one more thing that I wanted to mention. Is Joel Embiid too stupid to lie? When asked if he would’ve been playing in the Sweet 16, Embiid said “absolutely.” Him sitting out this long tells me he’s already packed and ready to go to the NBA. I’m pretty pissed off about how this all went down. In part because of the exposure it got, and the amount of information that was out there. His father saying the he thought Embiid would “for sure” play at some point in the tournament made him sound like an idiot (in my opinion) because it makes it seem like he knew absolutely nothing about the tournament in the first place (i.e. it’s a single elimination sort of deal). Second, if he was so certain that he would be playing again in a few days, it irritates me that there was no chance for him this weekend. Earlier in the year we all “oohed and ahhed” about how much Embiid liked KU and the things he said that made us think he’d be back. I think if he hadn’t already made up his mind he would’ve played yesterday. But that’s just me. The possibility that we were going to get matched up with a big team like Stanford was very likely. The simple fact is, we win if Embiid played yesterday.

    I think I’d almost prefer it if he just came and out said he was gone, and that’s why he hasn’t played in a month.

  • Tough loss. The better team did not win. Wait until next year.

  • @KansasComet-I agree, the better coached team won. JMO

  • @icthawkfan316 I, however, was squarely on the Tharpe bandwagon. I was hopeful for that 25% improvement. I totally misread that one.

  • @Lulufulu85 Sorry if I offended. Not my intention. I do value your posts and opinions here.

    Unfortunately, I critique every game, and many decisions. It’s how I’m wired. I make notes during the game on my thoughts and what I see. I deeply enjoy the analysis, strategy, and game planning. The whole process makes the game more than just a game to me. And I enjoy reading the opinions of the insightful folks on this site – I’m literally educated every day on something here.

    Self is an amazing coach, and as I’ve said before, I wouldn’t trade him for anyone, to quote @MoonwalkMafia.

    That being said, I personally don’t think it is bashing to rationally address topics that affect the game, the team we love, and our success.

    You said that I made “valid points” … thanks. But I’m curious as to what you’d prefer I do on this site (short of turning in my credentials hopefully)?

  • “Yet, we kept absolutely bashing our heads against a brick wall.”

    @MoonwalkMafia - Sounds like we’re singin’ the same tune. I love the football references. The reason I don’t think Self presses is why teams don’t blitz – they think they can win with their base defense. They don’t have to create unnecessary risk that could swing the game. I kind of think you toe the water with the press, see how it works. Then use it accordingly. Self’s view most of the time is that we only press when absolutely necessary. And my guess is that it’s the “risk” thing.

  • OAKVILLE OBSERVATIONS FROM ST.LOUIS: 1] Obviously, Jo Jo was the hub of our offensive wheel and without him the wheel never really stabilized. [4-4 the last 8 games] 2] Tarik Black went out like a man and a warrior battling to the end. Sat with his Dad and I saw first hand where Tarik got his strength and courage. 3] Sunday afternoon, outside of Conner, they played like the freshmen and sophomores that they are. 4] Conner Frankamp is going to be one hell of a basketball player by the time he leaves KU. 5] Truthfully, no one in Crimson and Blue is ready for the NBA. Put the odds at 50/50 Jo Jo stays, but I think not experiencing an NCAA game MAY be a big factor. 6] Naadir was NOT the reason we lost to Stanford…they were just too big with Jo Jo out. 7] Do I even need to discuss the abominable officiating that was inflicted upon us? This is not an excuse…this is first hand eyewitness fact. 8] Please don’t remember Andrew by this last game…take his whole season as a portfolio…Leading Scorer, Big 12 Freshman of the Year, All Big 12, showing ODAs all over America that KU is a great place to play and learn. Always remember the smile!! 9] Perry…toughen up and show us we’re all full of C##P next season. 10] 25-10, 10th Conference Big 12 Title, Top 10 virtually the whole season while having the second youngest team in Division One playing THE toughest schedule…we should be proud. 11] Next season we will be tougher and wiser with a year’s experience and Cliff and Kelly and, Jo Jo decides to leave, Myles. 12] If Jo Jo stays…we will be very, very, very dangerous!!! Upvote3 Sign in to replySign in to suggest removal

  • @HighEliteMajor HEM, you are a knowledgeable hoops analyst and commentator whose posts I ALWAYS read carefully. On days when my schedule is loaded, and I have very little time to scan posts, I tend to look for your contributions; yours, jaybate’s, ict’s, ralster’s, slayr’s and a few others. As I have declared before, I do not always concur with your analyses, and sometimes allow my feathers to be ruffled by your bold declarations; but I respect your opinions and have learned much from your posts. I suppose what I am attempting to say: in the heat of current criticism, I hope to see you stick by your guns until the last bullet is fired. Regarding my own feelings after this loss, I need more time to swallow completely and digest. I am a dedicated Bill Self fan and sometime critic. For almost the entire Bill Self era I have criticized his tendencies not to develop and employ more of his bench for meaningful minutes throughout seasons. The waste of Russ Rob during his freshman year, imho, cost the team dearly when Miles and Co. were worn out and worn down by the time of NCAA Tournament play. This season, Bill’s reluctance to provide more opportunities for Frankamp, Greene and Lucas throughout the season falls within that same parameter. White? Who knows what is going on there? Perhaps AW3 did not bounce back quickly enough from the groin injury, then got himself in the box? Anyway, at this juncture, bench development, or lack of it, is about the only direction of my muddled focus. I sense that Tharpe should be dead in the water, as a future starter. I’m still grousing about EJ and that Michigan loss last season. In looking back at Bill Self’s Tournament record of “too early” exits, some form of adjustment would appear to be called for, whether by way of a personnel change among his assistants (bringing aboard a specialist in offense) or a change in focus regarding the necessity of developing a comfort level for the 3 pt. shooters available to him from the benchwarmers. I think he recruited some topflight subs who were healthy and available to him throughout the season…but were wasted come crunch time because they hadn’t the game background to play comfortably and relatively unerringly.

  • Right after the loss I felt anger towards our coaching staff. I wanted to blame someone, and I always go to the top when assigning blame.

    But after a long afternoon of yard work… what came into my head is one question:

    How bad does Coach Self want to win another National Championship?

    My answer kept me laughing and crying all evening.

    I’m not sure if he really or really, really wants to win another National Championship!

    I do believe players mimic the attitudes of their coaches in their play.

    We didn’t really, really want this victory today. There was nothing stopping us from taking it. Stanford is not an exceptionally talented team and they didn’t have an exceptional game.

    I know I’m not using JoJo’s absence as a crutch.

    Let me put it to you all this way…

    If this game had been played on the Mayan courts at Chichen Itza 1300 years ago and the losing team would be sacrificed to the sun God… I’m pretty sure we would have won. This meta synopsis should be saved for future reference and used as the gold standard for where the bar should stand. Sports today is not like it was in past history from Chichen Itza or the forum in Rome. Losses are not wagered in lives. But no sport can be played to it’s high spirit and essence without desire fighting to reach that parallel.

    Either bring every ounce of blood, sweat and spirit to the game, or leave it for those who will.

  • @KansasComet Respectfully disagree.

    The better TEAM definitely won. The team with the most talent and deer in the headlights look did not win.

  • @HighEliteMajor Please do not turn in your credentials. That would be an incredibly huge loss to this board.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 - We weren’t in “serious” foul trouble. And it is not hard to press when in foul trouble. It’s like any other defense, you play it and don’t foul. A misconception (not saying you, but in general) on pressing many times is that you are trying to steal the ball all the time – you are and you aren’t. The best “press” is one where you don’t reach and grab trying to steal the ball. You let them throw it away or you intercept, much like we did yesterday. So I don’t think that it necessarily is something you don’t do if you have foul worries.

    Regarding Tharpe, I am curious as to what your opinion is of Tharpe. What I am really interested in is what he has provided to this team. Let’s get past the fact that he’s a Jayhawk, and we personally like the guy. Seems like a great kid. I see a player whose production has gone straight downhill, and who has been nothing but a negative in terms of production. The efficiency ratings, etc., if you like those things, demonstrate that further.

    During the tournament, he was 4-11 shooting, 1-4 from 3 point range, 5 assists, 6 turnovers, 9 points. All in 47 total minutes of play. And I do not need to go into the defense thing.

    I feel even stronger about my post above now, with the additional explanation in response to @icthawkfan316, than yesterday.

  • @KU-Good take. A hi lo, pick & roll offense is simple enough for 12 & 13 year olds to execute. If you go to the library (old school internet) there is a wealth of info dated back for decades on the subject. In my opinion it’s as easy an offense to teach as there is, but that’s just me.

    What we consistently lack with a BS team is as several have noted. We simply do not have confident shooters regardless of their resumes & this is because of the “Wrath of Bill” regarding shot selection. If the ball is reversed a couple of times, is touched in the paint by a big or two, & the shot clock is under 15, then if you’re open, OK take it. But His kids consistently pass up good looks early in the clock because they’re doing it his way & the 3 pt shot is only optional when that’s all that’s available. This is not conducive to a lethal sniper’s mentality. These guys are still just kids who in many aspects of life are still wet behind the ears, & their confidence is shaken easily & the behaviors you wish them to display must be positively reinforced over, & over, & over again. If he’s not letting them take the open 3 early in the clock all the time, then he’ll have a tough time getting someone to nail a couple when it’s the only option to extend a game when time is running out. Like I said a couple of times about Bill using Conner, it frosts my butt that he was available as a viable counter puncher, playing fully within the flow of the game, nailing open shots, making good decisions, and Bill kept Tharpe on the floor far, far too long. But it’s just spilt milk now, & the cookies are all gone till next Autumn.

  • Yesterday I wished that Bill Self was a mismatch type of coach.

    Stanford had size and was giving us fits inside. I wanted so desperately for Self to go small (Frankamp, Mason, Greene, Wiggins, and one of the Black, Ellis, Traylor trio). That would have slotted Wiggins in the high post of that zone offense where, as the announcers observed, he could have done a lot of damage.


    I think you make a good point about not instilling confidence in shooters, but I would take it even one step further. Self’s offense doesn’t encourage his best players to be creative. How often did we see Wiggins and Selden vanish on the perimeter? Yet both of those guys could have and probably should have been 15+ ppg scorers. Yesterday those two took a combined 11 shots. KU was struggling to get good looks, yet their two most creative scorers only took 11 shots? Perry Ellis took 10 shots, and we all know he struggles to score against size.

    Yesterday would have been the perfect day to go to a version of the dribble drive motion. Stanford’s size gave them an advantage against the standard high low look. But we had the quickness advantage, an advantage we did not exploit because we didn’t change up what we were doing.

  • Did we actually get any points off the press yesterday? I know at one stretch we turned them over twice but we were so rattled ourselves that we missed a couple rushed shots then threw it away and they got a bucket and a foul.

    (Probably a good example of why Self needs to use the press a little bit more during the year just so the guys know how to amp up then settle back down.)

  • 1). I’ve debated this with someone before but this is another team (coaches and players) L. Self didn’t make the right calls early enough, at the right times, or at all. The players, excluding Black, didn’t play with the passion and desire to win yesterday. Heads were hanging and their body language was very poor for most of the game and it was like that for most of the season when things weren’t going well. It’s amazing to me when one guy plays like a pile of crap the whole team takes on that play like crap attitude. And what hurt us the most was valuing the possession never appeared to be a concern for this team. We turned it over on average 19% of our possessions and turned the opponents over less. Tharpe isn’t the only to blame here. Traylor, Wiggins, Selden, ect were all bad passers and traveling machines.

    2). We need to learn how to drive the lane and draw fouls. Too often when someone does get into the paint they shy away from the contact. Picking up early and often fouls on the other teams bigs, kind of like what teams try to do to us, should be something we work on every year. Especially when our MO is pounding it inside. If we can foul up their bigs early and often then our High-Low works that much better. This is what makes guys like Kane and Smart a pain in my ass.

    3). I agree with all the points on finding our own Heslip or Forte. CF should be that guy. And throw in Greene and White too if they had any confidence. Someone said it above, guys are too scared to let if fly early in the shot clock because they’re afraid of the quick yank. I don’t know if Self truly does put this into the mind of the guys (it appears that way at times) but if CF, BG, and others feel this way Self needs to change that mind set. Giving up a great open look early on to guys that we’re told are deadly from 3 just because we want to run the O is moronic. And if he’s going to implement his quick yank then that standard should have been upheld with Tharpe and Johnson the past two years!

    4). With the talent and athletes riding the pine every game it would have been nice to see us press more yesterday (and throughout the year). This would have given more guys a chance to play and build some of the much needed confidence CF, BG, AW3 lack. I know their d is suspect at best but the only way to get better sometimes is to be thrown to the fire. And honestly I’d take a few more L’s during the season to have the depth and confidence that a team like Michigan State has. Granted their reason for having to play guys that probably wouldn’t have played all that much this year was due to injuries you can’t argue that they’re not a MUCH better team for it and why they’re considered a favorite to win it all at a 4 seed.

  • @drgnslayr I love your post, and particularly the last three paragraphs – sheer brilliance.

    The best part: “If this game had been played on the Mayan courts at Chichen Itza 1300 years ago and the losing team would be sacrificed to the sun God… I’m pretty sure we would have won.”

    Damn right we would have won.

  • @globaljaybird - Sheer brilliance as well. Great quote below.

    “We simply do not have confident shooters regardless of their resumes & this is because of the “Wrath of Bill” regarding shot selection. If the ball is reversed a couple of times, is touched in the paint by a big or two, & the shot clock is under 15, then if you’re open, OK take it. But His kids consistently pass up good looks early in the clock because they’re doing it his way & the 3 pt shot is only optional when that’s all that’s available. This is not conducive to a lethal sniper’s mentality.”

    A great example was CF’s three at the end of the half. I bet that dude could do exactly that 50% of the time when he’s not worried, not thinking about the ramifications of shooting – just shooting.

  • @truehawk93 I watched the Baylor-KU game live, in person. We did a great job of attacking their zone. When our #4 guys make 4 of 18, miss 14 bunnies, there’s the game. Jmo

  • Once again, the pins fall down in front of us, and we roll it into the gutter. Seemed like a date with Florida was inevitable. Beat the 10-seed and 11-seed, sure no problem. But instead we tripped on our shoelaces and lost to inferior competition.

    We basically had three guys show up to play yesterday. Tarik and Conner obviously, and even though Jamari struggled some, and wasn’t nearly as good as he was Friday, I give him credit for staying engaged and trying to make plays. Tarik, Conner, and Jamari. Were those the guys we were thinking of back in August and September when we were talking about a championship? Or even last week? Is that the core of the 2013-14 Jayhawks? Our marquee guys completely shriveled up, afraid to penetrate, afraid to feed the post, afraid to set a screen, afraid to box out, afraid to THROW IT THE F**K DOWN…and even then we still had a chance. Unfortunately our best player was also afraid to take the shot. He couldn’t get rid of it quickly enough on that final possission, deferring to a guy that averaged 8 minutes a game (who at least had the stones to shoot it, even though he was well defended).

    Now we pick up the pieces, figure out who’s back and who’s gone, and get back to work. It’s the only thing we can do now that the dance is over. I have to think after two years of attrocious PG play leading to early exits, that will be priority #1, both on the recruiting trail and in the gym.

  • @Kip_McSmithers - Yet more sheer brilliance.

    “Giving up a great open look early on to guys that we’re told are deadly from 3 just because we want to run the O is moronic.”

    The pass the ball and focus on getting the ball inside all the time made a lot more sense when there was no three point line. I don’t think we should shoot bad or marginal 3s early, but we shouldn’t discourage the open look 3 early in the clock – heck, if we shoot an open look three at 33.3%, it’s equal to 50% on two point shots.

  • @Kip_McSmithers-Great observations. Wiggs & Wayne made some crap TO’s & also made some decent entry passes too. Quite frankly when they did, the guys in the 4 & 5 spots just didn’t finish. I’m more & more of the belief that Self needs to tweak his offense & be able to adjust accordingly during the contest. He just was unable to do this on too many occasions this year & years prior. The trifecta is such a huge part of the game now that Bill has got to evolve whether he wants to or not. This is very apparent in the tournament when mid majors & smaller schools continue to knock off one dimensional teams year after year. Also, the quick yank may not be all there is to the process for poor shot selection issues. Bill may be running the dog krap out of these kids in the gym as a penalty for not doing it the right (his) way. I know that’s what our coaches did when I was a young. Pain & suffering from added PT was the rule & not the exception. My coaches ran practices like a flippin boot camp every day, not just a week or two by itself. One I played for was at LHS for years, & warm & fuzzy was not what I was ever exposed to ever. Even when we went to State or won it, it was all business as usual. Lombardi once said “Fear is the greatest motivator” and my coaches lived & breathed on that assumption. Just getting a smile was virtually impossible, let alone getting a pat on the back.

  • @HighEliteMajor I agree w/your press reasons. I think starting out in a press juices up a team. But, we needed Tarik to play a lot of minutes yesterday. Not sure we can effectively press w/him in. Traylor is perfect for that, and he did a good job. As far as Tharpe goes, I see his problems, we all do, but to wonder how far we’d be if he hurt his ankle? Conner will be a great shooter, already is. But, he can’t penetrate like Mason, or guard a guy like randle. I hope we see more of Greene and Conner next year shooting lights out. Quicker and stronger! Our 4 guys missed 14 bunnies, game! Jmo

  • By no means do I want to be a team that lives and dies by the jump shot/three like Duke but it would be nice to have a sure fire option that would open up the inside and spread the defense for the bigs and driving. When Heslip, Forte, Frazier II are roaming the perimeter you know teams running a zone are shading their way more. Or in M2M their guy isn’t sagging as much to clog the lane (unless you play for Kansas then you still do that…) which gives their bigs a little more space and their slashers less hands to swat and swipe the ball.

    All I want is for someone to consistently make teams pay for going under screens like we do. For someone that WE can find before the D sets up that is simply lights out. The guy that can make a 7 point deficit go bye-bye in 26 seconds. Heslip was 47.3% from 3 this past year. Frazier II and Forte were 44%. That’s what I want to see from someone wearing a KU jersey. Instead we have lights out guys in the low 30’s. :’(

  • I can’t blame a coach for a loss, he can’t go out there and make lay ups, get steals and make the right pass.

    What Coach Self has done was given his players to knowledge and tools to do all of those things.

    I don’t see why he has to change his coaching style when the ball just won’t go through the net.

    I see people say we needed to press earlier, sure makes sense in hindsight and away from the game, but do you want to run your players legs out from under them to early in the game? if you are not a a pressure team it is hard to apply pressure for long periods of time.

    Look their height bothered us, coach Self can’t stretch the players to new lengths, they made baskets. It wasn’t our D we turned them over we got steals and stops, we just couldn’t hit water if we fell out of Noah’s Ark on day 32.

    It happens, we all just need to take a collective deep breath, count to 10 and exhale and wait for next year and see what that brings.

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