Biggest change needed?

  • I posted this in a reply on another thread, but got to thinking and decided to give it its own thread so all posters could see and have a chance to respond:

    How do we (or more accurately, how does coach Self) better position the team for success in the tourney? Certainly we’ve critiqued Self for some of his tournament coaching decisions, or indecisions. For his management of the rosters during the season. For his recruiting strategy. It seems that everybody was in universal agreement that a tough schedule would better prepare us, then we play the toughest schedule in the last 20 years and lose to Stanford in the round of 32. What are the answers? What is the magic combination to solve the tournament puzzle?

    If we as posters had one thing we’d go to coach Self and implore him to change, what would it be? What is the most important thing we’d like to see happening?

  • @icthawkfan316 just the question I want to see. Off the top of my head, either more offense geared toward good 3 point looks with rebounders in good position, or getting a top flight point guard. Preferably the pg.

  • I would like for him to give the guys a little more freedom to shoot the 3 early in the clock if they are open. Many have pointed out that the players seem to fear the wrath of Self. I think that makes them hesitant and appear to play tentative. Other teams seem to play freer than we do in the tournament which I think is part of the reason for some of our early exists. The PG thing…I think Self would like to work on that also. I still love Tharpe despite the disappointing play…but remember he was a back up plan (and I feel bad saying that, but it is true)

  • I’d like Bill Self to be more flexible and play to his players/team’s strengths. He seems to be too rigid on his BB philosophies. I am not saying that his style of play doe not work. I admire Self ball immensely, however, it requires tremendous experience and can backfire if you do not adapt.

    I’d like Self to implement variety of zone defenses. In addition he should try to utilize his teams strengths, as an example this years team was very deep, long and athletic, perfect for press defenses but Self for the most part did not use it. Stanford game is a perfect example where he should have pressed more from the beginning of the game but he waited till about 10 mins into the 2nd half.

    He needs to become a better game’s day coach and he can do it if he implement such schemes in his playbook and utilize them on as needed basis.

    This is the biggest change needed in my opinion.

  • I’d like to see Self recruit kids that bleed Crimson and Blue, or can learn very early to bleed that way.

    I’d like to see kids that come to the gym early and are forced by the janitors to leave at night.

    I’d like to see these players bust their asses all game every game and then cry like little girls after the very few games they lose that season.

    I want every loss to hurt the players and coaches as much as it hurts US.

  • All perimeter OADS have to have 40% 3pt shooting their first season. Period. Otherwise pass on them. You have start OADs and without 40% treys they are useless in March.

    Starting perimeter must have TWO 40% 3pt shooters. No exceptions.

    Not more than one perimeter starter can be a weak dribbler to one side.

    Screening has to become part of the offense every possession.

    Posting up mismatches has to become part of the offense.

    Isolating on mismatches has to become part of the offense from each tipoff.

    Against 2-3 zones the high post has to set up at the FT line and be passed to.

    The 2-2-1 3/4 court zone press has to be played every possession.

    Point guards have to be able guard and distribute.

    Everyone on the team has to be strong enough to finish at the rim, or else have a 40% 3pt shot.

    Being able to pass well is required of everyone in the rotation.

    Defense is not optional.

    All PERIMETER OADS HAVE TO HAVE HIGH FOUNDATIONS. We don’t care about their ceilings! Low foundations and high ceilings are death in March.

    Rock Chalk!

  • @icthawkfan316-ICT, now’s my chance damn it & I’m indecisive. Don’t know if it would be gearing the offense more towards developing & cultivating more 3 pt snipers with a faster overall pace, or teaching kids how to deploy different & varied types of zone defenses. My personal experiences have been to be able to defeat a zone, teach your team how to play it. Guess if you pin me down it would be a faster offense, but selectively & strategically only…like deployment of zone defenses. As a coach you get a feel for the game flow like a player & using some coaching instincts is probably the most sensible approach to me. We’ve seen Bill use junk def in the past (2012) with good success when used against opponents with only one or two prolific scorers, so if we get to ask for TWO things that would be the second.

    Also as for the Bill basher who showed up today, let’s just hope old Joe Ross never does! Then again jaybate beats him into submission quick as krap though a goose & I used to get a real kick out of that, so it might liven up the show for us a little. Good thread ICT-stimulates sensible comments, at least from most of ya! Good job.

  • Good responses. I tend to line up the most with @AsadZ, in that I’d like to see Self expand beyond his personal philosophies.

    I was having a conversation about this issue the other day with @ralster, and his position was that Self’s system has proven to be the best when executed properly with the correct personnel. My position is that you will rarely have the exact combination of personnel that you want. That goes for any coach. Recruiting misses, players leaving early via the draft or transfer, or kids not panning out. Given that the personnel will more often than not be less than ideal, the game strategy must be flexible enough to take advantage of player strengths.

    This isn’t to say abandon a tough M2M defensive scheme all together because you have a bunch of frosh who are a year or two away from being proficient at it. After all, Self isn’t as successful as he is because he abandons his core principles on a whim. But having a few more tricks in the bag and being willing to use them can go a long way. Similarly, as “the Bill Basher” pointed out earlier, when your strongest post player is Tarik Black, maybe a high-low offense isn’t the best offense against the trees of Stanford. Having more in the offensive bag than the high-low and the top of the key weave would be nice.

  • Simple. Adjust. He doesn’t adjust. He’s stubborn to a fault. He wins 8/10 games with his strategy, so from a stastical vantage point he is always going to play his “percentages”. Personally, I think Bill is a great coach, but the tourney is more about adjusting due to the varying matchup styles that quickly present themselves on short turnaround. We hear it a lot " we are gonna show up and play OUR game". No, show up and play THE game that you are in. B

  • @icthawkfan316 don’t forget, our best defenders were 2 freshman, our 2 worst were sophs. Great posts from everyone. Just like to add injuries to the list of intangibles. My hope is that these kids bleed crimson and blue after they get here. I really think wiggins gets that. I keep wondering what our OADs are thinking while watching these games. Great discussions!

  • Coach K changed his philosophy and he has lost in the first round two of the past three years.

    Calipari hasn’t changed his and missed the dance last year.

    I’d rather Self keep his philosophy and find a true point guard that will be around three or four years and be able to teach those behind him on the bench. One that is a team leader, a defensive stopper and can run the offense.

    We don’t need a bunch of three point shooters. Sure it worked for Dayton this year and for Iowa st at times too. But how’d it work for duke and creighton?

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Yes I agree about our freshman. The example of having freshman not proficient in tough M2M defense was just an example of a hypothetical situation one might encounter with personnel issues. Another might be not having wings that can penetrate the defense, or bigs that are capable passers in the high-low system.

  • I’d rather Self keep his philosophy and find a true point guard that will be around three or four years and be able to teach those behind him on the bench. One that is a team leader, a defensive stopper and can run the offense

    @JRyman I’d rather Self do that too. Again, my point is you might not have the luxury of having that year in, year out. So what do you do when the personnel isn’t what you need? Just consider the year a throw-away and hope to recruit what you need next year? Or adjust?

    I’m not saying a complete overhaul in philosophy. Just adjustments to accommodate the personnel on hand to give that team the best chance to win.

    I agree on the 3-point shooter thing. I also agree with what a lot of posters have said and that is that we shouldn’t be afraid of the 3-point shot, but I wouldn’t build a team around that.

  • @AsadZ One of the oft heard refrains after a bad loss is that Self is too stubborn or that he needs to be flexible. That’s just nonsense. Name one great coach that changes around his schemes year after year to fit his team? K? Izzo? Boeheim? Ryan? Donovan? Year in, year out, these guys run with the horses they have. They try to instill their brand of basketball into their players. They don’t let their players dictate the game to them. Adapting your program to fit your players is fools gold. If it comes to that, you’ve already failed because you put together the wrong team to begin with. This isn’t to say that Self can’t or shouldn’t make changes in games or run plays to exploit match ups. The word for that is tactics, and beging tactical is essential to success.

    But the big picture, the strategy, isn’t something you should abandon just because a few guys aren’t ideal to suit it. The solution there is to recruit better, not to give up building your team. If for no other reason, you’ll never develop consistency coaching inconsistently. You have to try to plug in the OAD kids that you have as best you can and hope that they are either great fits (like Embiid), or talented enough to carry out their assignment better than the next guy (like Wigs or X). Occasionally, they’ll flounder (Selby), but at the end of the day most of it is managed on the recruiting trail rather than in the locker room. Wanting Self to implement a variety of zones means becoming a zone team. Pressing regularly means becoming a pressing team. It really sounds more like you want to hire Rick Pitino than run with Self. If that’s where you are, that’s fine, but I’m sticking with the guy who has the most wins over the past 10 years because the arc of tournament success will bend towards the most consistently winning program.

    To borrow a phrase from the marines, ‘Self Fidelis’. And as always, RCJHGKU!

  • Almost forgot.

    LONG LEGS AND SHORT NECKS on any players that are short for their positions.

    Long arms and big hands on everyone.

  • @konkeyDong Maybe that is a better description for what I think AsadZ was talking about. We’d like to seem him be more tactical. Again, I’m not for changing the core philosophy. I’ve had the argument with HEM when he advocating switching to a primary zone defense this year. His point was that due to two things - 1) having long athletics in Wiggins & Embiid, and 2) having defensive black holes in Tharpe & Ellis, that we were better suited for zone. My point was that if you switch your philosophy to zone this year, what do you do next year? Your “black holes” would still be there (Tharpe & Ellis), so all of a sudden one year of zone turns into two? Then by the time Tharpe has left you have a team that for the last two seasons hasn’t gotten the necessary practice & experience running Self’s coveted M2M defense. I think this illustration speaks to your statement about never developing consistency coaching. But pressing, mixing in zones, traps, etc. I think people just want to see us not banging our heads against a wall in games when what we are doing clearly isn’t working and/or the particular match-up dictates. It doesn’t mean becoming a pressing team, or a zone team. But how many times during the year do you see coaches out of a time-out switch to a zone and it confuses the hell out of the other team? We saw it last night in the Michigan game and it paid off.

    Not an overhaul of the philosophy, but flexibility. Adaptation. Until these change-ups are a part of your scheme. But your comment about adapting your program to fit your players is a failure because you’ve put together the wrong team, I’ll pose the question again, what do you do when you’ve put together the wrong team? When your personnel isn’t ideal? Because guess what…it’s not going to be ideal most years! Do you give up and stick to your guns and hope for better recruiting success and that everybody you want sticks around as long as you need them to and nobody transfers because they don’t want to wait their turn and everybody returning develops at the rate you need them to? Or do you do things to try and mask your deficiencies? Do you adapt?

  • @icthawkfan316 While I can appreciate wanting Self to be more tactical, I think people around here simply assume that he isn’t or doesn’t consider possibilities, or fail to give him credit altogether when he does make adjustments in losing efforts. I mean, just the other day, you reminded HEM that in fact, a lot more than “Nothing” was attempted by Self to try and pull out the win against Stanford. We’re quick to forget that Self did try to leverage the length and athleticism of Wigs and JoJo with a 3-2 zone several times early in the season, but it was never effective, as you note. HEM and myself proposed other zones that might have been tried, but we don’t really know if Self considered any other approaches and simply concluded that it wasn’t in his team or that the opportunity costs of trying to find a zone that they could execute was worse than making hay with the wobbly man to man that they had.

    While I can see the potential advantages of mixing in zones or presses from time to time, that marks a very big change in fundamental strategy. Self is a man to man guy that will throw in ‘junk’ defenses for special situations. That’s how he teaches. That’s how he plans. The alternative you’re offering is either change that fundamental strategy or start throwing spaghetti against the wall when your game planning isn’t effective. The fact that Michigan or any other team might change defensive looks to keep teams off balance is red herring. KU <> Michigan. I mean, if this KU team did that, it’s switching from a relatively poor defense to a worse one, and when you can see that for what it is, it’s less glamorous.

    Likewise, early in the year, Self tried posting up Wiggins and Selden against smaller guards. Wiggins just kind of stood there like a scarecrow with no idea what to do. Selden could back a player down, but didn’t know how to make plays with his back to the basket. No drop step, no hook shot, and no finding cutters on an angle. Again, do you invest a lot of time in something that isn’t working when it isn’t core to your strategy because it could be advantageous or other teams have been successful at it, or do you try to make the most of what you’ve got with what you know?

    As for the question of what to do when you’ve recruited the wrong team, see my above answer. You lean in. Go to war with the army you have. Lacking the ideal pieces for your system is no reason to abandon a successful formula. Bend the players to you, not the other way around. I don’t see this as giving up. Quite the opposite. I see giving up as walking away from what you know how to do best because it’s harder to do with a certain group. If you can’t do that, you’re not much of a coach. Maybe you won’t solve it on the recruiting trail. Maybe you’ll have guys quit the team or go pro. I acknowledge those risks, but it’s your job as a coach to manage those aspects of a team even under ideal circumstances. And surely you’re not suggesting that realistically a team of mostly freshmen is going to completely jump ship all at once (at least, anywhere but at UK), are you?

    You’re presenting a false dilemma between teaching your players your system and minimizing weaknesses. You can do both. That may mean playing guys out of their ‘natural’ position. It may mean accepting certain weaknesses to maximize strengths. But always, always, always coach to your strengths. I know that it’s incredibly frustrating when your strengths aren’t getting you where you want to go, but why would you want to play to the things you’re weaker at? Even if the match up is bad, you’re more likely to get there doing the best you can at something that isn’t very effective than you are trying to be effective at something you’re not very good at. And again, adding ripples until something is part of your scheme IS overhauling your philosophy. Even if it’s done slowly, over years. That’s not to say that it couldn’t turn out to be better, but that’s taking up the risk that you’ll ruin what you had.

    That doesn’t mean that situations can’t demand changes. You certainly have to take more risks when you’re behind and time is running out. But you do so acknowledging that those risks are more likely to fail than succeed, or at least that the failure of those risks will bury you further. For instance, we pressed for a good 7 minutes or so against Stanford because they were keeping us at arms length and we needed more possessions. HEM wondered why if, as the analysts/announcers mentioned, Stanford didn’t have a real PG that we didn’t press the whole game? Well, although our press yielded some TOs, we weren’t able to convert many of those, after seeing the press for a few minutes, Stanford was able to adjust to the pressure, set up their press offense, and get into their half court sets. A few times, we gave up easy looks to it, so it didn’t make sense to come out pressing if that’s not the team’s identity. Now, if you’re Louisville or VCU, or if that’s who you think we should be, fine, but asking a team that practices the press for special situations/desperation to be proficient at it for 40 or even just 20 minutes at a time is asking a lot. Most teams, especially young teams, aren’t going to be able to turn on a dime like that.

    Another question I saw frequently was why not run more 3pt plays against the zone? My question to that is why do so with a 34% 3pt shooting team? Missing a lot of 3s will play you out of a game just as quickly as hitting them will claw you back in. Why go where you’re weak even if your strengths aren’t working? I think the only justification can be extreme desperation and that shouldn’t be your mindset down 2 - 3 possessions with plenty of time left in the game.

    The halftime crew wondering aloud why Self wasn’t putting Wigs in the middle of that zone to attack it made me understand why all of those guys were in the studio and not on the sidelines. Being a great player doesn’t mean you’re great at every aspect of the game. Even Jordan was a weak shooter. Wigs loose handle and poor feel for passing offense would surely have been a disaster in the middle, but some vocal members latched on to that awful suggestion as somehow the key to the game and bemoaned that we didn’t ‘scheme’ or ‘adjust’ or try. Somehow, though, I know enough to say with great confidence that sawing off my own arm is a terrible idea without actually experiencing it. Why do we clamber, then, for Self to do the same?

    Early in the season Self made a bunch of choices to try and make the most out of the team that he had. Some of them were probably very good choices. Some of them were probably very bad choices. I’m willing to bet he’s aware of them. Likewise, he does try a lot of the stuff we suggest. When Self doesn’t play many minutes for his bench guys, we criticize him for not developing those players enough. When he does give them minutes, we scoff that he doesn’t just pick one to develop consistency. I myself opined a number of suggestions of how we should play without Embiid available. Self tried most of those things against ISU in the Big12 tournament and the results were disastrous. I stood corrected. I didn’t try to Monday morning quarter back because he didn’t try everything I could think of.

    It’s silly and a poor way to judge a coaching effort by looking back at everything that wasn’t tried. Coaches make judgments about what will and won’t put them in the best position to win. We can’t fall into the trap of assuming that the path not taken is automatically the fork to success. Instead, the way to judge an effort is did that coach do enough to put his team in a position where success was a realistic possibility? I’d argue that against Stanford, Self did. It may not have been enough to pull out the win, but that doesn’t mean a failure of coaching necessarily. Some of the things we tend to view as failures or weaknesses aren’t necessarily so either. For instance, Self tends to allow opponents to dictate pace. This does allow inferior teams to play at an advantageous speed at times, but compare that to Roys teams that basically had to play up and down in order to have success. They were very vulnerable to a slow pace, whereas Self has had a number of teams that could win at any speed. It doesn’t always happen, but I don’t think it’s something Self does out of ignorance or apathy. I think it’s a calculated choice. I think he wants his teams to be able to win ugly, grindy games, or win pretty running games from one day to the next. Is it the right choice? I’m open to arguments either way.

    A lot of these things turn out to be things that Self has thought of anyway. After the Michigan game last year, several ranted on the old boards that Self didn’t foul when we were up 3, but Kevin Young later stated that the plan was to foul Burke as he crossed half court, but he evaded them and made the tying basket. Or against SDSU, HEM was in a funk that Self didn’t send cutters to the basket to relieve the post double teams. He even called in the Hawk Talk to find out why not. Self told him that that was part of the plan, but they failed to do a good job of it. So I’m a bit incredulous that people seem to think that Self doesn’t recognize these rather simple things and try to get his guys to do them. When they do, we applaud his genius, but when they don’t, we question his sense.

    This team had some huge weakness that were on display in every game where Embiid was either unavailable or limited in minutes by foul trouble or injury. In fact, that describes just about every loss we suffered on the season save Colorado, Florida, and SDSU, where Embiid was still very much easing into playing at this level. Self could have made choices early in the year to move away from the vulnerabilities that we had without Embiid (such as going to Frankamp or Mason), but he didn’t. The seeds of the Stanford loss were planted by those choices (particularly our inability to score against length and our weak penetration against zones), but it doesn’t mean they were the wrong choices to make. I haven’t seen anything to convince me that they were because any other line up you go to exposes you to some other unique set of problems.

    None of this is to say that Self doesn’t make mistakes. I think we all wish Self had just given up on Tharpe completely in the post season because Tharpe’s play was terrible. It makes sense. I think it’s a fair criticism. I will question his thinking even more if he doesn’t make a push for a JUCO or graduate transfer, or at least try out starting CF or Mason next season (or even Selden or Oubre). He clearly should have benched EJ after the beginning of the Michigan game and called a TO before EJ got a 10 second call. Although some of his misses on the recruiting trail have turned out to be blessings in disguise (Josiah Turner), and he has managed to find some diamonds (Kevin Young, or Mason, who performed near the level of Cat Barber and Demetris Jackson, who we missed on), there are others that have really bitten us (as much as I like Wigs, there’s no denying that Randle would have been a better fit for the team offensively and although Black was a classy guy with a great attitude and disposition, his hacking play would have been better replaced with someone we’d have for a few years like Parker or an athletic combo forward like Deandre Daniels).

    Lastly, I think this year more than most, Self was willing to take more risks. He had a young team and he knew he had to. How many of us thought throughout the season that Frankamp would have been better off red-shirting. Yet Self puts him out there in crucial moments of the two tournament games we played, completely cold with only about 160-odd minutes played on the season, and he allows him to perform. That was a bold move, although we’ve treated it like it was completely obvious. Self also benched an upperclassman PG to play a frosh at that spot. I had to eat a hat betting I’d never live to see such a thing, but there it happened (and goes to show that maybe Self should have realized that his relationship to Tharpe probably should be that hard, but oh well).

  • I’d like Coach Self review the last loss of the season and learn from the mistakes and makes adjustments in the future. Coach mentioned in the past that he does not watch the last game of the season, and I 't think that is the right attitude.

  • @konkeyDong Well you make several good points. And let me just be clear, I’m not a “Self-doubter”. I’m also not a Self worshiper. Both annoy me. But fair criticism or suggestions or just ponderings are not out of bounds. And that is the point of this thread that I created. And that is something I still don’t think I’ve seen you answer, is that if you had to change one thing to improve our tourney success, what would it be? Or do you think no change is needed? Either is an acceptable opinion.

    To your point that adding ripples until something is a part of your scheme is overhauling your philosophy, I couldn’t disagree more. As you stated, Self is a M2M guy that will throw in junk defenses for special situations. So you acknowledge that the junk defenses are a part of his philosophy. But then you say that if this KU team did that (and by that, my example was throwing out a zone following a timeout) it’s switching from a relatively poor defense to a worse one. My question is…why doesn’t doing that constitute one of those special situations already in his philosophy? Or in what situation is it acceptable to you to use those junk defenses? Basically you’ve acknowledged these circumstances exist, but the suggestion of using them in another circumstance is an overhaul? That makes no sense. I’m not calling for Nolan Richardson’s “40 minutes of hell” or Louisville’s “helter skelter”. I’m definitely not calling for more than a handful of possessions at most of using zone. But using something here or there as a change-up. It’s not an overhaul because it doesn’t demand abandoning the M2M that you spend the majority of the time teaching.

    One thing that you’ve said is that you know it’s frustrating when “your strengths aren’t getting you where you want to go”, but that basically because they are your strengths you should stick with them regardless. You’ve just described insanity - doing the same thing over & over again expecting different results. I get that we might not be as good doing something else, that we may not have mastered playing one way as opposed to the core offense/defense. The fact that we will be less proficient at it must be taken into account, but you are completely discounting how good your opponent is against different things and the fact that it can take your opponent by surprise. Maybe the scouting report says that they are horrible at facing zone and will simply pass it around the perimeter before jacking up a contested 3. Why not go to that for a bit? This is probably why Self was more comfortable going to the press earlier than he normally would against Stanford, because the scouting report said they had no true point guard and film showed they were susceptible to turnovers against it. Or to use a baseball analogy: let’s say you have a great fastball, and you just learned how to throw a curve a month ago. Now, Pedro Cerrano steps into the batters box. Scouting report says, he can’t hit the curve to save his life. Do you stubbornly throw fastballs because that’s what you’re best at, or do you use the curve which isn’t something you’ve mastered but you know it doesn’t matter because he can’t hit it?

    Also as I was saying, even if it’s not something that you know for a fact is going to work in the scouting reports, it might be something that will catch your opponent by surprise or off-guard. They might take 3 to 4 possessions to figure it out. Sorry to keep returning to the baseball analogies, but it’s why pitchers don’t just throw one pitch. Even if their fastball is their best pitch and throwing something different on the next pitch means that pitch is, in a vacuum, less effective than the fastball, you still have to mix it up. Give your opponent something different to think about. And who knows, you might discover that although you aren’t as effective at doing the different thing (zone, press, etc.) your opponent is even more inept at attacking it.

    And you are right, I did remind HEM that Self was not just idly sitting there doing nothing in the Stanford game. He did start the press earlier. He did reach deep into his bench for the second game in a row to someone that didn’t play much during the season. I myself was very pleased with how he developed his bench this year. He had his main rotation, but Greene had a role where he got minutes almost every game down the stretch. He knew he had a role. And while going 9-10 deep was not always possible, he found minutes for CF regularly. He played 4 post players almost every game, which differs from his typical 3 plus the 4th for garbage minutes. My main frustration from that game was playing Tharpe so many minutes in the second half. Aside from that, I thought he should have run some set plays to try and get Wiggins going. No, not putting him in the high post (I agree with your analysis on why that wouldn’t have worked), but something. Some staggered screens to get him free for a jump shot. You can’t tell me that we don’t have those in the playbook. If we don’t, then our offense DOES need an overhaul. Now maybe they tried and the plays didn’t work out the way they were designed. Maybe the screeners did a poor job and he couldn’t get the shot off. Maybe Stanford sniffed them out. We don’t know how much is failed execution. But 6 shots is unacceptable from Wiggins, and I thought more should have been done than what I saw to get him going.

    Your point about lacking the ideal pieces for your system is no reason to abandon a successful formula, well it’s not a successful formula without the right pieces! Would you continue to try running a high-low offense if you have no bigs taller than 6’7"? If you’re philosophy is shooting a lot of 3s, do you keep doing that on a team with no pure jump shooters? And you say bend the players to you, and if you can’t do that, you’re not much of a coach. Well, what we had and what we tried didn’t work. We lost. It didn’t work. There is no denying that. I will acknowledge the loss of Embiid as huge. But we lost multiple games all year in very predictable ways. We struggled in very predictable ways. Can you honestly say that Self did a good job bending this group to his system? Sure we won the Big 12 again. Sure we were granted a 2 seed. We had a very talented group of players. But the highlight of the season was the win over Duke. In November. I honestly don’t think much bending was done. We certainly never got much better on defense, at least not appreciably better than other teams got on offense as the season wore on.

    Again, I don’t advocate scrapping the formula because you might have a team that is a bit too much square peg for the round hole. But I don’t see throwing out a zone/press/trap/“junk defense” for a few possessions as scrapping the formula. I don’t see asking to pull out something in the offensive playbook other than the high-low and the weave as scrapping the formula. There’s tons of little things within M2M defense that you can try. Do you double/trap the post? Do you front a taller post player or play behind him? Do you switch on ball screens or mandate your players fight through them?

    Not sure I’m on board with a JUCO or graduate transfer. If the situation is right I guess, but those don’t seem to fall in our lap, at least not at the PG position. I’m all for CF or Mason getting a fair shot at the starting AND back-up jobs, or Selden as you and others have mentioned.

    I do think Self did a good job with what he had this year. The Embiid injury derailed the season. Had Embiid been healthy I think we beat Stanford. Not sure about Dayton with their 3 point shooting, but I’d have us favored to win that game. Are we having these discussions at all if we lost again to Florida Saturday night in the elite 8? I doubt it. We’d probably still be pissed, but we could more easily accept it I think. But I guess that’s the line between having a successful season and being upset in the round of 32 and everyone second guessing. So, in regards to this season, perhaps you are right in that Self didn’t make many wrong choices. My suggestions aren’t specific to this season, but are more generalized. I appreciate your insights, as they definitely challenge my thinking on things and reading your posts has even changed my thinking on certain topics. Sorry my response is a bit all over the place. It was pretty late/early morning when I wrote it up.

  • @jaybate 1.0 I love your list, except if we recruit to your specs there won’t be any mismatches.

    High foundations: so Jabari Parker > Andrew Wiggins?

    Now apply your specs to next year: how does our roster compare to your specs? If we can get one player, who should it be? What lineup do you want next year?

  • Terrific topic. This is simple. To quote Morpheus in the Matrix –

    “Free your mind.”

    That’s all.

    Your way, while solid and with great merit, isn’t always the best way to win.

    Sometimes we must be flexible, and we must adjust. We must be willing to deviate. We must be creative

    That thought process will lead a great coach (like coach Self) to the answer.

  • @AsadZ-Your desired traits were proven effective with the 2012 teams’ success in the dance. Self threw out the box & 1 and triangle & 2 def vs Purdue who had a forward that just lighted us up, Ohio Sate, & also I believe against Va Tech, because these teams had powerful scorers that most teams did not matchup with, including us. We did have some rebound machines with Jeff & TRob, so I would really propose that he really did adjust to the matchup & personnel on his team accordingly then. It’s so simple for us to speculate this or that, but when it comes down to the meat & potatoes of what he teaches, he’s damn good at it, & learned from some of the best to ever coach & play. Larry Brown is about the cat’s ass in the hierarchy, tutoring Greg Popovich, Self, Calipari, RC Buford, and Alvin Gentry, HC of the Suns. There are only minor tweaks that I’d suggest for situational contests by & large, cause there’s no way any of us can propose that Bill’s system needs a “makeover” because it’s just not true & we really don’t know squat. IMO

  • @AsadZ- There are only minor tweaks that I’d suggest for situational contests by & large, cause there’s no way any of us can propose that Bill’s system needs a “makeover” because it’s just not true & we really don’t know squat. IMO

    & we really don’t know squat. IMO Couldn’t agree more. Sure we can second guess and use hindsight, but non of us have been to a practice or shoot around or in the locker room at halftime.

    Maybe Self wanted to change up his D’s in the tournament, but knew his younger squad couldn’t perform for him like teams past?? I don’t know I wasn’t there.

    We can assume this and that, but we all know what they say about it when you assume.

  • @icthawkfan316 Insanity? I think not. There is a big difference between doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result and doing the same thing over and over again knowing that you’ll only get the result you want some of the time. It’s not an all or nothing proposition. It’s called attrition. So again, make the case to me that it’s better to shy away from what you’re good at, even if it isn’t going to work all of the time, and try to win doing what you’re less proficient in. I’m not saying you’re wrong, necessarily, but you haven’t made an argument beyond that we lost, which can happen almost no matter how much we do right.

    As for the issue using zone to throw off an opponent, no I don’t think that counts as special situations. That’s a strategic change. It’s not how Self operates. He zones when there is a match up that he can’t defend, or when there’s a player he can truly ignore (look at the use of the triangle and 2 in the 2012 tournament vs Purdue and UNC). He hasn’t used the zone to try and throw off an opponent because if his man to man is working, there’s not a good reason to do that and if it’s not working, it’s only worth going to if its the lesser of two evils. Some teams relying on shifting defenses to create opportunities. Some don’t. I don’t consider either of those the wrong choice, but if you want a team to be able to do that, it requires developing that skill at the cost of others (coaches are limited in time that get to spend with players, after all). You say that you HAVE to mix it up, but you don’t make a case for it beyond mixing it up for its own sake. I also don’t particularly think opponents are going to be surprised or thrown off if you’re not good at mixing it up. Throwing off an opponent with zone might work in another year, but not this one.

    As for the question of whether or not Self bent the players to him or vice versa, honestly, I don’t see how you can be in a position to evaluate until we get to next season. If our returning players improve and the game begins to resemble what we’ve become accustomed to this past decade, then I’d say it’s a success. If they still look as lost as they did without JoJo, then yes, that’s a failure. There is, however, a big difference between not having the ideal pieces and having the wrong pieces. Yes, if it really came to us having no one over 6’7", it’d be incredibly difficult to play through the post, but we were no where near that level of challenged this year. Even if we were, though, is it unreasonable to say that it’s worth teaching those things to players because when you do have the 6’9"+ bigs that you need you’ll want the guards to know how to post feed and score from the inside out? If you’re really set up for that level of failure, why not fail with an eye towards the future?

    Finally, yes, there are a number of tweaks you can make within a system. It’s innumerable, in fact, but among the things you mentioned, Self tried some or all of these throughout the year (doubling Georges Niang, fronting the post vs Stanford, switching screens against EKU, while showing against others). So it’s the same trap of Monday morning quarterbacking that I mentioned above. Just because one set of choices were made and didn’t work, it doesn’t make them the wrong choices. You have to do better than say, why not try this or that. You have to explain why X is the worse option compared to Y and Z. It’s easy to say other options might have been better when you have no accountability to those choices, nor did you witness the results. That amounts to finger pointing, not analysis. I’m not interested in the former. I’m also not trying to tell you that Self has no room to evolve as a coach. Strategies don’t exist in a vacuum. Eventually they all become obsolete because the game isn’t static. This is called metagaming and it’s the bigger part of strategy. Self will need to adapt over time, but specific choices demand specific reasoning in the context of the metagame. Given Self’s relative level of success in that metagame (winning 80% of the time), I need more than Self is too stubborn or other teams have success with other strategies to conclude that what Self is doing requires more than minor tweaking from time to time.

  • @konkeyDong

    “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

    “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

    “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”

    Albert Einstein

  • @icthawkfan316 Great question ICT, Very thought provoking. I think for next season, with our without Embiid; a return to defensive dominance is absolutely imperative. We just witnessed our worst defensive team in the past 11 years. IMO, had they been even a top 20 defensive team, they would still be dancing right now. Everyone on here should pretty much know where our defensive liabilities lie. PG and PF. Naadir and Perry.
    So, in the short term we have to fix those weaknesses by seeing which player out of Mason or Frankamp can be better defensively. My guess is Conner. Just a guess. And, by moving Perry to the bench in favor of Alexander next year should clear up that same problem at PF. That diagnoses and treatment brings up another question though. What if Embiid doesn’t come back? Who fills in at Center? Well, who do we have left? Mickelson, Lucas…who am I missing? I forget but either way, that is exactly what I am proposing. We still need a tall, long guy protecting the rim. My thinking is that Mickelson can get it done. He’ll be a Junior, has had the chance to practice against Embiid for the past year, will give us needed leadership out on the floor. Will he be good? IDK. Will it help fix the defensive weaknesses? Maybe. But, that’s all I got.

  • @JRyman The thing about it is, Self doesn’t need to change his philosophy, he needs to add to it. His base-philosophy is great, but KU needs to adapt to the changing times. We don’t need to be what ISU or Michigan is (i.e. a one-dimensional team that shoots nothing but threes) because I’m convinced that a team like that will never win it all. That being said, we need guys who are lethal from three point range. Not a ton of them, but two would be more than sufficient, and it’s not that we don’t have them because we do. Self just chose not to develop them as far as he needed to this year. We needed to be able to make threes against Stanford (that’s how Dayton dump-trucked them). The fact is Stanford isn’t a very good team, their greatest strength just prevented us from doing what we always have done, playing through the post. I do think that Cliff will be a perfect fit for KU next year though. If by some miracle Embiid comes back and KU lands a PG with good size like the kid from IUPUI who is looking to transfer, we become the favorites to win it all. Those are two big ifs though, and probably not going to happen. Anyways I digress.

    Self’s philosophy is fine. He doesn’t need to change it. He needs to develop it better. We won in 2008 because that team could play every facet of the game. Chalmers and Rush were deadly from three. We had three PGs that were top tier, AND we could run Self’s high-low offense. We need to get back to that. Because watching us bash our heads against the wall against Stanford and Kentucky (2012 NC) has been painful. And adding to the defensive repertoire is not a bad thing either. We lacked the personnel to play M2M this year. At least as effectively as Self would like and we paid for it several times.

    In the offseason, I’d like to see CF and Greene become lethal three pointers. Phil Forte lethal. A transfer PG is also a must. Developing these two aspects or my “wish list” if you will, put us in serious contention to win it all again. These are big ifs though.

  • @icthawkfan316 I also think that Coach needs to be more willing to be fluid in his approach to the game at hand. Sure he wins 8 of 10 doing what he does but the NCAA tournament is a different animal and needs to be treated as such. The game of basketball itself is designed to be fluid and ever changing, its a thing of beauty when it is played well. Coach should learn to be more fluid in his approach to how he coaches late in the season. I don’t know for sure but I am betting that he doesn’t have an 80% win loss card during the NCAA’s.

  • @konkeyDong

    “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

    “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

    “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”

    Albert Einstein

    @globaljaybird Cute, but I’ve already addressed the issue of insanity. But if you insist, what does it say to post the same things over and over again after each loss ? 🙂

  • @konkeyDong Konkey nailed it. Tactics. Self needs better late season tactics. Whats that quote Jaybate likes from General Patton regarding tactics? pow.

  • @Lulufulu85 All good questions. But I don’t think Perry comes off the bench next year. He will continue to be one of our go to guys. Selden being the other. I think that Mason has the makings of a really good defender.

  • @Hawk8086 depends on which Perry shows up.

  • @Hawk8086 If Perry comes doesn’t come off the bench, what’s your starting five?

    1 - Tharpe/Mason/Frankamp/Unknown 2 - Selden/Greene 3 - Oubre/Ellis??? 4 - Alexander/Ellis??? 5 - Alexander/Turner/Lucas

    Of course it all depends on who we get, if anyone. But I think the only way Ellis is a starter is if we don’t get Turner, or if he’s willing to play the three.

  • @nuleafjhawk “I want every loss to hurt the players and coaches as much as it hurts US.” Because they just don’t understand how much we mean to Jayhawk basketball.

    @MoonwalkMafia Turner would be nice, but I’d like to see what Hunter can do if we don’t get him. He could be Withey, jr. with better post moves. I was thinking 1-Francamp/Mason 2- Selden/Greene 3- Oubre/Perry 4- Alexander/ Traylor 5-Hunter/ Lucas

    I didn’t list Tharpe because I’m hoping he turns pro. <smirk> We’ll probably see : Naadir, Selden, Oubre, Perry, and Alexander as the starters, with Traylor, Mason, Francamp, Greene, and Hunter as the top reserves.

  • @MoonwalkMafia he’s tooooo sllllooooooowwww to play the 3.

  • @Lulufulu85 @MoonwalkMafia Don’t feel the need to fill the second post position with a true center. Sure they’re nice and definitely help the defense, but playing two athletic 4s in the post is perfectly acceptable. So look for a starting line-up of Ellis & Alexander in the post, unless we land Turner and he impresses so much that he rips the starting job away from Ellis. Two of Self’s best teams (probably THE two best in my opinion) have played with two athletic 4s starting - the '08 championship team with Jackson & Arthur, and the '11 team with the Morris Twins. My point is don’t expect Lucas or Mickelson to leap frog over Ellis & Traylor just because they may be closer to a center than a power forward.

  • @MoonwalkMafia Alexander, Ellis, Oubre / Greene, Selden, then Mason / CF/ Tharpe. If Turner commits, then there may be some debate about who starts. I can’t believe that we would think that Perry doesn’t start. Because he is weak defensively? He is our best returning scorer. Given Self’s history of playing the experienced guy, it would be a major upset if Perry doesn’t start. I don’t think he starts at the 3.

  • @MoonwalkMafia I should have added. Even if Turner commits, either he or Cliff starts…they both don’t start over Ellis.

  • @icthawkfan316 Agree 100%

  • @konkeyDong I have already made the case to shy away from what you’re best at and try and win doing something we are less proficient at. What you continue to fail to do is to take into account the other team and what their strengths are, what they are vulnerable to, etc. Again, say you are best at M2M defense, but your opponent’s offense absolutely shreds M2M defense. Now, say that same team is totally confused/baffled/inept at attacking a zone. Even if you are not as good running a zone defense as you are running M2M, that doesn’t automatically mean that the strategy will be less successful. I gave the example of pressing. Even though we are not a pressing team, Self was likely more comfortable going to the press earlier in the game than we have seen on other occasions because pressing attacked their weakness.

    We can go round and round about using a zone for a possession or two and what that means - overhaul, tweak, special situation, abandoning core strategy - but essentially it’s semantics and we’ll have to agree to disagree. I just don’t see adding a handful of possessions playing zone, or trapping, or pressing, as overhaul, whereas you do. To me it doesn’t really matter what you call it, I’d like to see it.

    I am still interested if you have an answer to the question that was posed as the topic of the original thread: What would you change that you think would improve our post season success?

  • @JRyman & @globaljaybird – Don’t think for a minute that “we really don’t know squat.”

    This is not rocket science, it’s not brain surgery, and it is not complex. It is a game with many elements.

    Look at other teams. See what is successful. Adopt. Adapt. Take pieces that will help this team be more successful. That’s really all coach Self needs to do in my humble opinion. As I mentioned – Free your mind. Just break free of the philosophical tunnel vision.

    I have really seen zero change from coach Self. Everything is the same. Offense, defense – everything.

    While I am clearly more in coach Roy’s camp regarding style of play, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. And Self has skinned that cat.

    And to the “we really don’t know squat” thing – right, coach Self will clearly be able to take information and translate it on the floor better than the rest of us. Not even an issue there.

    But too many times folks get caught in the trap of thinking that because someone is extraordinary in what they do, that an opinion in comparison is not worthy or valid.

    Let me ask you this, in all seriousness. Do you really think that coach Self is smarter than @jaybate? I can flat out guarantee you that @jaybate wins that hands down.

    Now, does that mean @jaybate can coach like Self? Of course not. But he can certainly view, process, and apply information, and likely in a higher capacity.

    That’s all our discussions are here. Try this – do you think that our discussions about KU playing fast, creating more possessions, trapping and pressing, putting the best offensive team on the court to score, placing less emphasis on defensive personnel – has any merit now after the loss to Stanford? I bet if anyone here could go back and try that, they’d do it.

    I wouldn’t minimize insight on the message board here. Many time folks are in positions that they are in due to circumstance when many others, given the same circumstance, could achieve in the same manner – whether it be a CEO, Coach, Doctor, Lawyer, or President of the United States.

    I’ve met brilliant people who simply have not been in a position to achieve professionally, many of them women who have chosen to be moms first.

    Do you really think that George W. Bush and Barack Obama are more qualified than many, many others to have been president? Doesn’t make them bad presidents, but their skill set is not unique. Circumstance, in large part, led to them becoming president.

    Let’s not be afraid to critique. The key is why – why is an opinion valid? The rationale. The logic.

    Logic wins the day.

    And that’s the issue I have with coach Self’s approach sometimes. It makes no logical sense when you add everything up.

    I can tell you, in my opinion, our game plan for Stanford stunk. And I have one strong point in my favor – the result. We lost. We got beat by an “ok” team. A lousy 10 seed ruined our season. We played their game. Out coached. Period.

    What I haven’t heard is anyone defend Self’s game plan vs. Stanford. Not one person.

  • @JRyman & @globaljaybird – Don’t think for a minute that “we really don’t know squat.”

    We know the game, we know who the players are and we know the coaches. The game of basketball is overly simple, it is made complex by those who don’t get the simple objective of getting the ball into the peach basket.

    What I am saying is we don’t know what happens in the locker room, the film room, in the one on one meetings. We don’t know how player A is at practice compared to player G, we are not there, there fore we do not know squat.

    We aren’t in the time outs, we can hear what a sideline reporter reports, but we aren’t in the huddle.

    Having a knowledge of the game does not give one the knowledge that it takes to coach. Just because you were a great player does not give you the knowledge to be a great let alone a good coach. Anyone can pick up a book and take a test and become a basketball official, that does not make them knowledgeable.

    We don’t know what Coach Self is telling his players in practice there fore we can’t say how they should play in a game, we don’t know if he tells them to play this way and they just don’t do it.

    Unless you or anyone really close to you is on the staff we don’t know squat.

  • Now, Now boys…play nice.

  • @HighEliteMajor- I’m generally in agreement with you most of the time, specifically when it comes to game situational adjustments, opening the floor (spacing) to enhance the ability for top notch shooters to nail the long ball, and situationally going zone to mix up opponents offenses if only for a few possessions. Doesn’t take a genius to see that oft times an extra possession means the diff in a W or L. You’re correct it is a very simple game, but finessing a squad depends on the real cards you hold, & Self always holds his tight to the vest. We never see them until they’re played. And frankly, we just don’t have a clue what goes on behind closed doors. What the world happened with AW III-don’t have the foggiest ? Lotsa ideas but no real scoop. Would Embid have played in the sweet 16-not a snowball’s chance in Hell that one poster on this board has the truth. Is he waiting to end speculation because he wanted Andrew to have the stage first, or is he really thinking of returning or just indecisive because he is not hearing the right prognostications from the draft services & the L speculations that he is now damaged goods? For sure no one on this board can figure these things out. And we mostly have the luxury of speaking how we would have done things differently after the game is over. Hey I see things also when the games are live, & am always questioning sets or methods or failures to execute under my breath-even louder at times. Most of the family doesn’t like to watch with me because I’m continually using replay & the advantages of a DVR.

    So when I post something tongue in cheek like we don’t know squat or schizz or an Einstein quote or whatever, it’s never meant to be mean spirited & I hope you or no one else would take it as such. Some on this site have played at high levels, some have & may still coach & some are just here because they’re hoops junkies. I’m a little of the latter two. I actually watched most of the Badgers AZ game & the Michigan UK game, & in all honesty I enjoyed them. Lotsa offense, good defense, back n’ forth, hit em’ in the jaw, hit em’ back again, right down to the final ticks. I enjoy good basketball & I don’t care who it is playing. Would rather see KU in the mix, but Bill’s due for at least an elite 8 next year so will have to hang on another year & watch another season. Well damn the luck !! I always savor the best parts of every season down to the final game, which if a loss, I quickly relinquish to short term memory. That’s what you do when you’re really pissed off at your kid when he screws up big time. You can’t send him back, he’s still your kid regardless of what he’s done, & the real reason you let their shortcoming go…is because you love them. My clock’s already ticking down to late night. As always, JMO & ROCK CHALK !!

  • @icthawkfan316 I think I did answer the question. We have to change who we’re playing at the point. Tharpe is who he is and I’ll be flabbergasted if he’s significantly better next year. That doesn’t mean that he can’t or won’t have a role on the team (provided he’s still with them now that that picture is out), but I’m willing to go as far as looking at Selden or Oubre to run the point if we can’t find a good Juco or graduate transfer and Frankamp and Mason still aren’t ready. Also, Self should be willing to play Ellis off the bench, despite his scoring, if we can be stronger defensively with Alexander and a center (hopefully Embiid or Turner).

    As for the other thing, I have no problem with trying to exploit weaknesses, but what you described with running zone because your man D is getting beat is exactly the time where I’d say it’s worth trying your zone D, with a few caveats, and I’ve seen Self do this throughout the years. What I’m saying would be a strategic change is regularly switching between zone and man to try and throw off opponents. This can only be effective if your zone D is credible and the only way to be credible is to work on it. So that raises the question, is it worth developing that at the cost of developing other skill sets given that you’re constrained by time, especially when you have a young team? It’s easier to add more ripples when you have veterans who are deeply entrenched in your core system. That certainly doesn’t describe us this year.

    I’m not saying you can never do this or that it’s a bad idea. What I’m really doing is making a core judgement. Self has the most consistently winning system even if he hasn’t won the most titles or made the most Final Fours of any coach in the past 10 years. So statistically speaking, is it worth it to lean hard on a system that consistently produces wins in order to try and win 6 games in March/April, or do you switch to a system that is higher risk and higher reward? HEM seems ready to take the risks citing that we could be UConn or UK or UF, or whomever else. I’m conservative like Self in that regard, so I don’t know if I could take the heart ache of having real down years just to try and swing for the fences in March. But I’m also open to the possibility that that’s where the game has gone. Self’s system might be too 2008, but I don’t take the evidence of having lost to a mediocre Stanford team when our best player was injured as definitive proof of that because I think the data tells a very different story. I’m also bullish about the future, especially if we return Embiid. He made this team and his absence broke it, unfortunately.

  • @konkeyDong Yeah you did tell me about Tharpe and the PG play. I guess I overlooked it because I was thinking on a more general/macro level. Like something to be done across the years.

    This explains, I think, perhaps some of our disagreements. And it’s probably my fault for not being clear enough, but most of the things I was suggesting or referencing were meant to be directed in broader terms, not specific to the past year’s team or the loss to Stanford. For instance, when I was making the point about the wrong personnel and mentioned it wasn’t practical to run a high-low offense with players 6’7" or shorter, that was just an example and not me referring to this past year’s team (although without Embiid it was close to being accurate). It’s also why I’d agree that adding ripples or working the less used parts of the offense/defense makes more sense with a veteran-laden team, and not necessarily this past team.

    As to the issue of making core judgments and if it’s worth leaning on that system to try and produce more wins in March…eh. I tend to agree with HEM in that March success trumps all these days. I don’t know that it means taking a “swing for the fences” approach though, as I’m like you in that I don’t think I would take the real down years. But I look at Kentucky, and I would absolutely trade our last two seasons, even if it meant being taken down by Robert Morris in the NIT last season. They’re right back in the Final 4. To me that beats making the sweet 16 last year and the round of 32 this year plus two more conference championships. And yeah I know it’s not a fair comparison, as you’re right and I’ve also said as much that the Embiid injury changed everything. I doubt Kentucky would be where they are had Julius Randal missed their first two tournament games (a loss to Wichita State would be the likely result in that scenario).

  • @JRyman I acknowledge your point. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about what we can see. So I just think you are dead wrong there. We can certainly analyze what’s going on.

    But to your point. Let’s say we want KU to play zone. But coach Self has run zone in practice, sees that it is horrible that three players are completely incompetent running the zone, and he sees it as a waste of time even if man to man is not that solid.

    There I would agree. But in that instance, Self said on Hawk Talk that he thought we could be a good zone team, but that he believes in man to man. He said that good man to man is better than good zone, and that it’s harder to beat a good man to man team.

    On some of the other items, there are not issues that relate to specific personnel or secret behind the scenes things – he does the same thing every season regardless of personnel, etc.

    “Anyone can pick up a book and take a test and become a basketball official, that does not make them knowledgeable.” — Great point

  • @HighEliteMajor-I believe also the point you explain about Bill doing the same things year after year, are pinpointing the reasons he gets outcoached at times, not just in the dance, but throughout the season.

  • @konkeyDong “HEM seems ready to take the risks citing that we could be UConn or UK or UF, or whomever else. I’m conservative like Self in that regard, so I don’t know if I could take the heart ache of having real down years just to try and swing for the fences in March.”

    See, I don’t think that March success and regular season success is mutually exclusive.

    Self really, really knows what he’s doing. We all know that. He is a great coach.

    All I suggest is tweaks. I see a coach who has tunnel vision, who is stuck on his philosophy. And I see a team who has failed in big situations because of that tunnel vision. Granted, that tunnel vision is part of the reason why we have been so good and consistent. But the flat out refusal to adapt a bit has been our downfall.

    No one can or has defended our strategy against Stanford. The irritation with some is the criticizing of Self. The “if you are so brilliant then apply for the job” argument. But no one has defended the strategy.

    Self himself said that they were long and contested our shots. That led to a low shooting percentage, which is a hallmark of good defense (by Self’s standards) … so, how do you get open looks?

    You have to scheme it. We didn’t.

    They have superior interior players and our strategy is to get the ball inside. We have superior wings (Selden, Wiggins) and we do nothing to create opportunities for them offensively. Wiggins shot 6 times. He should have shot 16. Wiggins stood in the same spots, ran the same stuff. Stanford said thank you and took it away. That is where a coach has to adjust. No one has contested the claim that coach Self got outcoached against Stanford. Not that I’ve seen.

    Our strategy against Stanford is indefensible.

    Self’s strategy against Stanford is always his strategy, as @globaljaybird nailed perfectly.

    That’s my point.

  • Balanced teams make it to the Final Four. Not balance as far as balanced scoring - you can have one or two dominant scorers. Balanced as far as offense and defense.

    You have to be able to get stops when you need them, because you can always pack your defense, even if your offense doesn’t travel.

    You also have to be able to score easily.

    KU struggled in both of those areas this year. They could not get stops. I can’t remember a single time this year when I felt confident this year that KU could lock somebody up defensively. That was a problem. Most of this had to do with personnel. KU started 2 below average defenders basically all season (Tharpe and Ellis). But even strategically, you should be able to get stops if you have a defender like Wiggins on the perimeter. But they couldn’t.

    But at the same time, when KU wasn’t in transition against certain teams, they had a lot of trouble getting easy baskets (think Stanford, San Diego State, Villanova, Florida, @K-State). This is more of a strategic thing. Self typically wants to play 2 posts and three perimeter guys. However, against certain teams, he might have been better served to go 4 out, or even 5 out. For instance, in the Big XII tournament against Iowa State he may have been well served to play Wiggins as a token power forward and gone small with Selden at the 3 and two of the Mason, Tharpe, Frankamp group, along with Ellis, Black or Traylor. I also think that lineup would have put a lot of pressure on Stanford.

    We have to capitalize on mismatches much more than we do right now. It’s the only way to avoid losing to inferior teams.

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