Critiquing Florida

  • As an almost yearly ritual, when our season ends with a loss in whatever round of the tournament, we gather to often criticize what we feel to be an underachievement. We wonder if Self has his teams too tight. If he’s a good in-game manager. If he made the right moves during the season to place the team in the best position for success. What he could/should have done different in the season-ending loss. Etc.

    This got me to thinking that while we have one of the truly awesome fan bases in all of college basketball, surely other teams have fans doing similar critiquing. Take Florida for example. After bowing out three consecutive times in the elite 8, their fans had to be having some questions about Donovan. Does he have his teams too tight? Are his prior successes the result of one phenomenal recruiting class? This year he broke through and returned a squad to the Final Four as one of the favorites to win it all (and likely THE favorite), only to be upended by a 7th seeded UConn squad that finished third in the new American conference. How do you reconcile this as a Gators fan? To me, the feeling would be similar to the feeling we felt in '11, when Self’s MorrisHawks were the favorite to win it all and were upset in the elite 8 by VCU. Although Florida did at least get one step farther and advanced to the Final Four, that would be little consolation to me as a fan of a team that looked poised to win it all. Or maybe as a Gator fan, they simply shrug and begin/continue the conversations about Muschamp and the football team, a luxury we don’t have.

    My point in this is might looking at Florida give us some perspective on Self and some of the perceived tournament shortcomings we’ve experienced? Not that it stings any less, or that any of our criticisms & ponderings are any less valid, but might it make us at least a little more likely to chalk up the tournament losses to the madness of March?

  • @icthawkfan316 crazy! Match ups and madness! This is exactly why it’s so special, NC is hard to get. Ollie had a great game plan, kept their heads w/slow start. Still doesn’t make me feel any better. Just want to add UConn played great D!

  • Florida played a poor game and could not buy a three. I kept thinking that if they would have played that poorly against KU, KU would have won by a bunch.

  • @JayHawkFanToo if we could handle their press???

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    We handled the press just fine in the second half and won by 9; they were ahead by 15 at half time, they won by 6.

  • @JayHawkFanToo yes we did. just wish we had another chance!

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    At least Wisconsin is handling Kentucky…

  • I’m in favor of Wisconsin beating UK and then beating UConn on Monday

  • Florida played a poor game and could not buy a three.

    @JayHawkFanToo How many times have we had the exact same response to our losses? Sounds a lot like the '11 team doesn’t it?

    HEM has a good explanation as to why saying “we just didn’t make shots” is a non-excuse.

  • @icthawkfan316

    Maybe it goes to show that it happens to every team at one time or another…

  • I can’t believe it, UK won with another 3 at the end for th5 3rd time…

  • @JayHawkFanToo I really hate the Harrison twins!

  • @icthawkfan316 sucks!!

  • So now what, I’m forced to root for UConn to get it’s 4th national title and surpass us? Couldn’t have been a worse title game

  • Gotta give uk props. I didn’t think they could do it again on a trey, but they did. Once again, it’s not Calipari, it’s his OAD talent. You can argue all you want and I will say Calipari is a good coach. I think any good coach that gets the top recruits can win big games. Again, the players make Calipari, not the other way around.

    I don’t have a problem with the players, it’s the coach. I never believe him to be a great coach unitl he coaches less talent than OADs. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Let him coach the average team and see what he can do. If he can take lesser talent than OAD talent and win, then he’s a great coach. He’s never coached lesser talent up to greatness.

    Go UConn…the lesser of two evils. At least UConn aren’t a bunch of OADs and I love what Ollie has done with this team after so much crap. I also like Daniels too. Napier is phenomenal. I wish we could’ve gotten Daniels when the getting was good, but we missed.

    Just when all the uk fans were hushed by their lousy season. Now queue the stupid uk fanbase to talk up their hillbilly smack…gawd, I won’t be listenning to bball much for the next few weeks, unless it’s KU of course.

  • @icthawkfan316 tornado

  • click

  • The day started okay with a ucon win as I was hoping to knock the SEC out of the final and have Wisconsin take out UCON in the final. So the lesser of two evils-don’t think I’ll watch, but hope UCON takes it cause I am so tired of SEC noise here in Texas.

  • my opinion: b a r f

    I am jaded by the college game. Jaded, disappointed and somewhat envious of Kentucky’s ability to extract victories out of the perverse OAD system.

    But mostly I’m jaded. Jaded because of the officiating, which seems to be able to influence the game more than ever.

    The officiating this year has aberrant and capricious and that has made games – and the season in general – completely unpredictable.

    I don’t know what a charge looks like. Where exactly is the cylinder in offensive goal-tending? Still can’t figure out the double-foul technicals for contact when a player puts themselves into the position to be hit. And sometimes when the ball is hit out of bounds and it’s close, they call jump balls… but sometimes they don’t.

    Of course, if you don’t like the way one game is called, just watch another… It will be called totally differently. It’s not enjoyable to watch because I don’t know what’s good basketball and what isn’t because the application of the rules are so inconsistent.

    The officiating been absolutely a travesty. The NCAA should be ashamed of itself for disfiguring the game of basketball.

    And it’s led to two programs playing in the championship that I really don’t think are good representatives of college basketball.

    b a r f, I say.

    I was not thrilled with the final four, but this is the worst outcome I could imagine for the finals.

  • @icthawkfan316 I hope Self shows the tape of UConn and FL game to our players especially our guards on how to attack the 1-3-1 zone. The whole game I kept saying to myself what if our guards could do what Napier and Boatright have done this season…

    I was really counting on Tharpe to deliver. I actually defended him on this site but after the tourney I realized that he did not get it done, what a shame considering how well he had advanced in the previous years.

  • @truehawk93 Do you really believe that coach Cal has nothing to do with it?

    Quite frankly, whatever the UK fans dish out, we should simply say “thank you, sir, may I have another.”

  • @AsadZ Why do you think our guards never split double teams with a dribble? Do you think that if coach Self is telling them to do that, they simply ignore it? Players do what coaches ask of them. They may not succeed, but they try to execute it. Our players plainly have not been asked to split double teams with a dribble. They break the press and traps the way they have been told – the scheme.

    When you say that our players should watch tape, I am curious as to who should really watch the tape.

  • @HighEliteMajor Definetly our guards - Tharpe, Mason and Selden. I had defended Tharpe and I was hoping that he will show further improvement but I was proven wrong. Its a shame as he had solid progress from his year 1 to year 3 but he could not get it done this year.

  • I’ll reference one of my previous posts…

    Great guard play (especially from the PG) wins championships in March.

    I can’t believe people still don’t get UCONN. Shabazz is the replacement for Kembo. You get guards that have kryptonite running through their veins in March, who can execute on offense and play nagging defense, and you will win a NC.

    UCONN’s backcourt kept Florida out of any real offense all day. Wilbekin (who is a good, seasoned PG) could rarely penetrate or make proper feeds. He even had his pocket picked… something you never see from Wilbekin.

    UCONN is a guard school. Big men make a bigger impact during conference seasons. But in March, with the high pressure coming on these teams, you need execution on the perimeter.

    Guard execution is what makes it possible for a player like Daniels to dominate.

    I’m a big fan because this is X-axis beating Y-axis… maybe if they win on Monday, more folks will start understanding what I’m talking about and realize Kansas won’t be winning another NC without real guard play. No more combo guards at point!

    This UCONN team would have murdered Kansas in March… with or without Embiid. The big light should have come on when they handled MSU… a seasoned team with great coach that had all the pieces to win it all.

  • @truehawk93 I have a different opinion. I give tremendous credit to Calipari for what he has accomplished not only this year but in year’s past. I know and I am sure most people will agree that even most talented kids needs a lot of coaching and direction. Also, Calipari did not have such high number of OADs at his previous stops like Memphis but he accomplished great success. He has taken his coaching success to an elite level at UK.

    If it was only the players, Baylor would be winning Big 12 titles and going to Final Fours but it is clear that Scott Drew is not a very good coach and is unable to maximize the potential of his talented players.

    If one takes your approach how would you feel if fans from mediocre programs put KUs success over the past decade only on talented kids coming to the program and giving absolutely no credit to Bill Self.

  • @drgnslayr I agree 100% with your analysis.

  • I’m afraid this championship game will be decided by refs.

    Will the Harrison twins still get those blocking calls going their way when they drive on Napier and Boatright?

    This is what will determine the game. If the twins and Young start getting nailed for charges, they will have foul trouble and any offense for Kentucky will be cut off. If that happens (and it should because they all constantly charge, even by NBA standards), this game could get ugly. Kentucky will get smoked horribly.

    If it goes the other way, and Kentucky is able to drive on the best defending guards in college basketball, they can get the UCONN guards in foul trouble and then it gets ugly for UCONN.

    I know the refs want to make a statement for this year, and their whistle goes right up the corporate ladder to numbnuts Emmert, who believes the tourney is still missing a few fans because their isn’t enough offense. If that is the case, then Kentucky can do what they have done all tournament long, and beat much better teams than theirs… along with shelling out the fundamentals of the game with brute force. There is a reason why Bobby Knight hates Kentucky.

    I’m sure Emmert is pulling for Kentucky anyways. Kentucky will be building a sport media empire within the next 10 years and will extend the Big Blue Nation. Fans that aren’t a part of the BBN tend to hate them. This will become the biggest rivalry in all sports on the planet… UK vs The World! That is the ultimate goal and I bet there are billions and billions of dollars to be made beyond where college basketball is right now!

  • @AsadZ As recently pointed out in another thread, I am taking a giant step back in my annual customary criticism of John Calipari. The guy is finding ways to win, and on the biggest stages. If he stays in the college game another five or six years, it appears likely that he will go down as one of the greatest Div. 1 coaches of all time…even if the NBA Player Assoc. yields to a chage to a 2-and-done rule. Considering the difficulty which most really strong coaches have in developing freshman phenoms into winning team players, Calipari has experienced unusual success, even with hard heads the likes of which are pumping up endless jump shots regardless of his shrieking at them to drive to the bucket. Although appearing to live a charmed life in recent team achievements beyond Regional NCAA Tourney play, the guy is bunkering down to hold on and win major victories. His charismatic recruiting and body of work are becoming spectacular. Now if it should become evident that thousands of dollars have flowed beneath the table to secure all those recent Wildcat high school All-Americans, I will take another giant steep back in my assessments…

  • I’m not ready to anoint Calipari, King of College Basketball.

    He is working with a minimum of 6 5-star recruits that are in that total top tier.

    Basketball has changed, and these stars coming in aren’t like the stars of the past. They have received a heck of a lot more coaching, and by quality coaches… AAU ball… tourneys, tourneys, tourneys with other all-stars. They even leave their home towns to go to specialized high schools that have superior coaching and play top talent.

    And let’s not forget Cal’s kids don’t go to class. They have 24-7 to work on basketball, and that is what they do.

    Compare that with a coach with 4-yr players. Those 4-yr players actually go to class and graduate. They haven’t had most of the bball experience leading up to college like these stars have. They don’t have near the upside, so improvements come slow… like strength.

    Examine Withey’s story again. He worked his backside off in the weight room and he was pounding calories to gain weight. He did get a lot stronger in the (what was it) 3 years he was a Jayhawk. Still… he can work in the gym forever and may not catch the strength of a player like Randle.

    Calipari’s own peers… other college coaches… rank him in the middle on X’s and O’s. That’s where I have him, too.

    There is no other coach in college basketball today we can compare him to, because no one else gets anywhere near his elite talent. Kansas wasn’t even close this year. We may have the two top picks in the coming draft… so what… Kentucky has 5 or 6. Compare Kentucky’s backcourt with Kansas… are you kidding me? Granted… I do believe Cal has improved his coaching strategies with OADs, but I’m still not putting him in the Top 50 of D1 coaches.

    Give me that problem. Make me a head coach and give me all those cream of the cream players.

    People start talking about putting Calipari up there with coaches like Bobby Knight or John Wooden. Are you kidding me?

    He is doing a great job of stripping all the real teachings out of the game by over-riding the key aspects with insane talent and brute force. Kentucky isn’t playing basketball… they are playing some version of pro ball at the college level.

    Take their story and go teach your kid basketball. Good friggin’ luck. There isn’t anything to teach. Either your kid can grow to size of banging his head on the ceiling or he is out of the picture… or smash cocoanuts open with his bare fists.

    You’ve seen Kentucky dismantle real teams in the tournament… teams that took 4 and 5 years to build into real teams. Taken down by a group of all stars who don’t even go to class.

    Maybe we should totally pull back from recruiting that top tier.

    This can be fixed by the NCAA monitoring these athletes and making them attend and pass real classes. No more basket weaving… Western Civ… English… Calculus… Let’s see them in real classes and passing them while working on their game. Kentucky would be nothing. Let them have 12 McDs AAs… they can’t win without working around the clock on gaining some chemistry. Then… I might believe Cal can coach. Even then… give me those talented guys and let me work with them…

  • @drgnslayr did you see the pic of coach Cal w/his hand on Wiggins in St. Louis? I saw it on twitter and most of the captions said things like “get your hands off me!” Whether you agree or not, Wigs was the #1 recruit and he picked us over Kentucky! That speaks volumes to me. I feel certain it spoke volumes to coach Cal.

  • I generally agree @drgnslayr

    I don’t know as much about the game, so I may be way off course here.

    But I’ll open my mouth and hope you can be gentle if something stupid follows.

    My observation is that the way UCONNS guards play is working now because of the way the game is being called. At the start of the year, if a guard came out on another to put pressure or impede/disrupt, it was a foul on the defense.

    My only anecdotal evidence is to remember the games in November and December when the fouls were flying.

  • I believe this is the first time in a long time that I want both teams to lose. UConn is coming out of probation for multiple violations and one whisker away from the dreaded “lack of institutional control,” and it avoided this designation only by having Jim Calhoun resign. We all know what Calipari has done and still does and somehow he manages to stay one step ahead of the law. It amazes me that these two school represent what is suppose to be the best of college basketball.

  • @drgnslayr He may not be the King of College BB but he needs recognition for his accomplishments, he is recruiting top talent, making them play as a team and he is winning. He is hanging banners in the Rupp arena and providing tremendous joy to the UK fans.

    I agree that he is not the best as far as Xs and Os of coaching are concerned but overall he is a very good coach. He is teaching and his players make progress during the season. I personally don’t like the guy but I give him credit for his achievements.

  • Below is from Calipari. I am not sure if he really means it but it is interesting to read.

    ‘‘Every player that I’ve recruited, and they will tell you, I say the same thing: ‘Don’t plan on coming to school for one year. You make a huge mistake,’’’ Calipari said. ''But if after one year, you have options, that will be up to you and your family.

    ‘‘Enjoy the college experience, enjoy the college environment, because the rest of it is work. It’s not about family, it’s about business. So enjoy it.’’

  • I believe this is the first time in a long time that I want both teams to lose.

    @JayHawkFanToo Totally agree.

    The implications of either team winning another NC is disturbing.

    They’ve screwed with the rules enough this year that it should be within their ability to make another change that allows neither team to win.

    Or better. let them both win and then take it away… The NCAA has some expertise with that approach.

    😉 No, I’m not bitter…

  • Is John Calipari a good college basketball coach? I think you have to look at that question in three ways.

    First, do his teams win? Well, he went 189-70 at UMass, 214-67 at Memphis and is 151-36 at UK. That adds up to a tidy 554-172, good for over a .760 winning percentage. And before you point to him having overwhelming talent, let’s remember that at UMass, his only notable player was Marcus Camby. At Memphis, he really didn’t have any super talent other than Dajuan Wagner, CDR, Rose and Tyreke Evans. He’s had more talent at UK than any other stop, but he was winning before he got to UK.

    Second, do his players play to their potential? Other than last season’s UK team, I am having trouble finding a Calipari team that outright underachieved. The Wall-Cousins-Patterson group at UK could be pointed to as an underachiever, but they went to the Elite Eight. His single bad year at Memphis may have been an underachiever, but if you can name even a single notable player off that team, you’re a better man than I.

    But here’s something crazy I discovered when I looked up Calipari - he hasn’t been the victim of a big upset in the tournament since his days at UMass. In 1993-94, Calipari’s 2 seeded team lost to 10 seed Maryland. The rest of his resume in the tournament looks like this:

    1991-92 - 3 lost to a 2 S16

    1992-93 - 3 lost to a 6 R32

    1993-94 - 2 lost to a 10 R32

    1994-95 - 2 lost to a 4 E8

    1995-96 - 1 lost to a 1 F4

    2002-03 - 7 lost to a 10 R64

    2003-04 - 7 lost to a 2 R32

    2005-06 - 1 lost to a 2 E8

    2006-07 - 2 lost to a 1 E8

    2007-08 - 1 lost to a 1 title game

    2008-09 - 2 lost to a 3 S16

    2009-10 - 1 lost to a 2 E8

    2010-11 - 4 lost to a 3 F4

    2011-12 - 1 seed, won the title

    2013-14 - 8, either wins the title or loses to a 7.

    Come tournament time, his teams generally play to their seed. Other than the 1994 team, he has never had a 2 seed not make it to the Sweet 16, and as a 1 seed he has always gone to at least the Elite 8. You can say what you want about having talent, but that’s a phenomenal achievement. A few times, that would be luck. He’s been a 1 seed 5 times and his resume is F4, E8, Title game, E8, champion. That’s what you’d expect from a #1 seed, but I can’t find anybody else that has actually produced that. If Calipari has a really good team, he’s going to the Elite 8 - period. That’s got to be coaching to some extent.

    And the last part of being a college coach is, of course, recruiting. He’s one of the best three recruiters in the country. I don’t think there’s anyone that can argue otherwise.

    So he wins three quarters of his games, his teams almost always play to or exceed their seeding in the tournament and he’s one of the best recruiters in the land. If his resume belonged to anyone else, I don’t think there would be much question that he was one of the best handful of coaches in the country.

  • @justanotherfan I just have to ask, how many of those games have been vacated for one reason or another?

    Be it caused by him or a player on those teams??

  • @JRyman

    As far as I can tell, There’s a 42-3 record that has been vacated - 4-1 in the tournament at UMass due to Camby and 38-2 at Memphis due to Rose. So you can take him down to 512-169 (.751). That would drop him from 5 Final Fours to 3, but even then, you look at his resume and it’s still impressive:

    3 Final Fours, one title, 4 other Elite Eights, .751 overall winning percentage, over 500 wins.

    If I showed you just those numbers, that would be a pretty gaudy overall resume, and that’s taking out a 42-3 run and two Final Four appearances.

  • @justanotherfan

    Very solid post! You did your work on that one and supported your points well.

    Cal didn’t have as much talent going back to UMASS days, but I doubt he played a tough SOS. Still… hard to argue he isn’t successful in March, regardless if seasons were vacated. He still had to win those games.

    His dribble-drive is the right offense for the level of talent he brings in. Just look at Kentucky right now. No one has been able to stop the twins or Young from driving the paint and either scoring or drawing fouls. That is their strategy, and when teams totally pull their defenses back Kentucky nails the 3, especially to win the games at the end.

    I’m anxious for tonight’s game. I’m hoping we see the same UCONN team that showed up for Michigan State. If UCONN brings all that energy, Kentucky’s backcourt will be put to their ultimate test.

  • @justanotherfan I’m not saying he’s bad at what he does while coaching, he has accomplished a lot, he has just had a few pumps in the road that tarnish what he’s really done.

    I was just asking as to what had been lost in those instances.

  • @justanotherfan Well done and thanks for the analysis.

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