What is a Blue Blood?

  • Banned

    I’ve been watching College Basketball for over 25 years. In fact the 1988 season was my real first season of watching the game we love. Over the years I’ve heard the term blue bloods many times. I thought I knew what it meant. A college program steeped in tradition that has had much success paying the game, but now I wander?

    I was reading and article about the championship game between UCon and UK and the title was Blue Blood vs New Blood. This vexed might thought process. What is a blue blood? Where did this term come from?

    When somebody throws out a name or term like blue blood you have to think elite. Right? However after pondering the question I’m not so sure. In my limited years of watching the game we all love. I always thought of the Hoosiers, UCLA, Duke, NC, UK and KU as the blue bloods. Yet when following the game like reading articles, watching analysts the term might include teams like Ohio St. Michigan st. or some teams on the east coast.

    So what is a Blue blood? I used to think it was a school that was steeped in tradition and had much continued success in the hardwood game. Now I’m not so sure? I mean UCLA had one of the greatest runs in CB history yet other than the Wooden years what have they really done? Yet they are considered a blue blood. Indiana considered the birthing ground of great basketball and the great coach Knight hasn’t really produced much since that era, yet they are considered a blue blood. Lets not forget Duke. Yes they’ve done quite well for themselves but all pretty much under coach K. Does one coach make a blue blood?

    What is this club of blue bloods? Can anybody gain admission to it? Can anybody lose their status as a blue blood? And why isn’t UConn considered a blue blood? Other than total wins they have done everything Duke has done. I’m really perplexed on this one.

  • @DoubleDD “Blue blood” was a term coined to signify nobility, not as a virtue but as a birthright. The older your family tree, the bluer the blood. The “real” nobility in England came over with William the Conqueror. In France, “noblesse d’Empire” means those upstarts who got titles from that newcomer Napoleon.

    It’s too late to become a blue blood if you’re not already - unless media folks forget what the expression means and use it to mean anybody who’s had success in their lifetimes.

  • Top programs, in order, last 20 years – excluding KU:

    1. UConn

    2. Kentucky

    3. Duke

    4. North Carolina

    5. Florida

    6. Louisville

    7. Michigan St.

    8. Syracuse

    9. Ohio St.

    10. Arizona

    @DoubleDD - I think your list of the 6 “blue bloods” is exactly correct.

  • @HighEliteMajor I’ve seen you make a couple references the past week or so about the best teams of the last 20 years. The conversation often quickly spins to discussing Self and his successes & failures. I’m curious what the list of top programs over the past 11 years looks like, since Self took over at KU.

    The point being let’s not punish Self for 9 years of Roy being unable to win a title in that time frame.

  • @icthawkfan316 I agree. In the last 11 years, I’d move Duke down just above Louisville. During that time, I’d put KU between Duke and Florida, with Duke just below us, and Florida just above us. And UConn might not be a definitive #1. I might slip UNC up there. You?

  • Based on National Championships in the past 10 years

    1: UConn 2: Florida due to their back 2 backs 3: UNC 4: Kentucky 5: Kansas 6: Syracuse 7: Louisville 8: Duke hey they’ve lost two first round games lately 9: Michigan St. 10: Arizona

  • I laugh at terms like “blue blood” used in America.

    Part of my college experience involved attending the University of Reading. I was dining at one of my professor’s house and the subject turned to his old barn he was using as his garage… I think the phrase he used was “car park” (pronounced ‘kaw pawk’ ).

    “I’m going to tear down that leaky old barn,” he said. I asked him how old his barn was and he said it was over 450 years old… twice the age of what our country was at that moment. His rafter timbers came from old sailing ships. His barn would be a historic museum if it was in our country. I’m pretty sure he knocked it down the year after I left.

    The term “blue blood” really should be kept intact with it’s original location… Europe. The noble rank was in it’s prime during feudal days. Let’s see… there was, of course, the monarch, possessing most of the powers, especially on taxation. The church, used to control the commoner while offering protection for the monarchs. The government, which executed broader powers for the State along with the demands of the noble, and of course the military structure. The peasants, who were held in check to prevent possible status movement. Not exactly a democracy or free enterprise system. The biggest barrier shackling potential prosperity came through taxation. Moving goods on ships through canals was the mode of business transport and every monarch exercised a stiff tax for rights of passage. There were castles just about everywhere and their main purpose was to extrude burdensome taxes in that area however they (noble) saw fit. It was pure thievery.

    We use the term to reference the old, established programs… but knowing the history around the term, it isn’t exactly a complimentary reference, by any stretch of the means.

    Maybe we drop the term for Kansas and use a more appropriate phrase… like… “Home of the Founding Father of Basketball.”

    Let’s break from the field of “blue bloods” with our own unique identity. It is the way it should be because we are not like Kentucky or other “blue bloods.”

    That has a certain ring to it. Let the rest of our status be challenged every year on the hard courts… like it should be. Or we start acting the role of a blue blood by levying a tax on the game last night on both sides. That would be a typical, fitting action for a true blue blood.

    There is only one blue blood program in college basketball…

    drum roll please…

    That would be the NCAA!

  • Someone that obviously takes too many of HEMS blue pills.

  • My gosh, here we go again … Cliff Alexander already being suggested as a first team all American. Ugh.

    We can’t go a day past the season’s end without hype.


  • @HighEliteMajor If it makes you feel any better, I"m pretty sure Tharpe won’t be mentioned in that group.

  • @HighEliteMajor I agree. It’s ridiculous. But it also speaks to a larger issue, and that is the depletion of talent and the resulting relatively low talent pool of players remaining in college beyond one year. There are obvious exceptions, the most common being the guard that is considered too small for the NBA, so he remains in college despite success that had he achieved being a couple inches taller said player would have been gone as well. Russ Smith & Shabazz Napier I believe fall into this category (although neither a OAD, no way either of them play to their senior years if they were say…6’3" ).

    This climate produces a significantly lower quality brand of basketball. @dragonslayr had a good post a couple days ago on Cal’s system being stripped of all the basic teachings of basketball and relying almost exclusively on superior talent being displayed on the most basic of levels. We heard it in the game last night from the commentators questioning a particular defense’s effectiveness because Kentucky doesn’t run a lot of sets or structured offense. It’s one on one, take 'em. And the finger shouldn’t only be pointed at Cal. I firmly believe we are seeing that at KU, Duke, and many other schools at varying levels.

    College basketball truly is in a sad state of affairs. I fear it will only get worse in the next 5-10 years as it appears more & more likely that the game is going to evolve into treating players as “employees” (read a good piece on this following a link from Jay Bilas’ twitter feed. I’ll try and find it again to post).

    Anyway, hype notwithstanding, I’m pretty excited for Alexander, as I’m sure a lot of fans are. The same can surely be said about fans from other schools and their incoming blue chippers. With the increased visibility on recruiting, AAU ball, & the high school game, ESPN and other media outlets surely look to capitalize on this enthusiasm, thus resulting in articles such as the one you provided in order to get more website hits. I wonder how many serious basketball people in the media really believe it.

  • I’ve always looked at Blue Bloods as teams that have had an overall impact on the game. And despite our oft discussed ‘lack’ of championships, our school has impacted college hoops as much as anyone.

    Are UNC and Kentucky blue bloods without the hires of Kansans Smith and Rupp?

    Kansas’ footprint on the game and the relative class with which we’ve done it all these years makes us an elite program.

    We play in the Fenway Park or Wrigley Field of college basketball.

    Despite East Coast bias running rampant, we consistently are featured on the major networks games. Kornheiser and Wilbon talk about us on PTI.

    Most fans if they’d admit it would say they’re jealous of KU.

    The greatest basketball player to ever live went to KU.

    Our mascot is steepted in American History with ties to the winning side in our countries awfulest episode.

    The Champions Classic (I think that’s what it is called) chooses us to play in it. UNC, Syracuse, Indiana, UCLA are not included in it.

    Top HS talent wants to come to KU.

    We are a blue blood. Now let’s all agree with HEM and become a blue blood with some more championships!

  • @HighEliteMajor Oh and regarding your last 11 year list, sounds pretty solid. UNC above us as national titles outweigh everything else.

  • @wissoxfan83 “Most fans if they’d admit it would say they’re jealous of KU.”

    A story I like to tell:

    Several years ago ( I don’t remember exactly and I don’t feel like looking it up ) I had tickets to Kansas vs Ohio State in Lawrence. If memory serves, both teams were pretty highly ranked. My wife couldn’t make it, so I invited a guy (acquaintance, let’s say) who happened to be an Ohio State fan. Big Ohio State fan. Obnoxious Ohio State fan. You get the idea.

    Anyway, we make the 3 hour drive to Lawrence. He’s all decked out in Ohio State garbage, head to toe. He KNOWS they are going to beat us on our home court. We get there early and once we get in we spend a lot of time looking around. You can smell the history. You can FEEL the history.

    So we finally get to our seats and all the pre-game hoopla begins. By the time the game got started, he was practically pale.

    He says: " I hate to admit this, but I have goosebumps! Ohio State doesn’t have anything that can compare to this".


    Oh yeah. We won.

  • @nuleafjhawk

    I love your story!

  • @nuleafjhawk Awesome story.

  • Over the history of the NCAA blue bloods would include:

    UCLA, Indiana, Kansas, UNC, Kentucky, Michigan St., Duke, Syracuse, Arizona, Louiville or UConn.

    I put Arizona on the list and maybe they are maybe they aren’t, Lute Olsen sure tried to put them on the list. UCLA, their dominance in the 60s-70’s says enough. Indiana was always relevant when Knight was there and they are the last team to go undefeated for a full season and win it all. Kansas UNC and Kentucky are all on the same level excluding titles. They have all done great things in the history of the game. Michigan St. has been a team known for Magic and Izzo, Duke has only been relevant since Coach K got there. Syracuse maybe they are in the same boat as Arizona???

    I guess you could add NCState there too at the end, they were a team to be recond with in the 70’s and how can anyone discount the impact Jimmy Valvano had on the game, not just him running around looking to hug someone, but his coaching and his personal legacy.

  • @nuleafjhawk Great story. The AFH experience is special as we all know. If I had the cash I would take someone new to experience every AFH game.

  • @JayhawkRock78 I’ve been to the Field House once. It was Bill Self’s first year and it was against a Baylor team that had maybe two scholarship players on it after the Dave Bliss issues.

    It was and is my Graceland. I got to go. If I ever get to go back for a game it will be icing on the cake. I’d like to take my kids there, let them have that experience as well.

    I do want to walk through the Booth HOF, as it was being built when I went, there were a few parts of it open but not much.

    As a past KU player told me once, “It’s a dump, but it is legendary, it’s a game changer. It is KU.” He was referring to the old locker rooms, the concourses, the ceilings and even the bathrooms. But like he said it is legendary and will give you goosebumps just walking into the place.

    I have been to Wrigley field, the Old Boston Garden and to Candlestick park even Lambeau field . The garden made the hairs my neck stand up and the floor wasn’t even down, it was just the concrete slab, but the banners, the history…Lambeau was cool too, no game just a tour. Wrigley was awesome they were playing the Cards, it was a very intense crowd. Big Mac vs Sosa. Went to Candlestick the night they honored Bonds for his 400 HRs and 400 Stolen bases, his dad, Willie Mays and a few others were there in attendance. I was on the field for BP that night, they played the Dodgers another great rivalry.

    But still AFH is my Graceland.

  • @nuleafjhawk Went to that same game with a bunch of Ohio State fans. Saw the same reaction. To be fair, most of them were under the impression that KU was the Devry Institute of the midwest.

    They were impressed with the whole campus, as well as AFH. And now as a student at OSU, I can say that Ohio State’s campus has nothing on KU.

  • @JRyman You’ve got some real quality visits there. I was part of a group of guys that chased baseball stadiums for a while. We had about 26 each, and then started having kids. Those trips came to a screaming halt-but its all good-doing other great things with the kids and you’ve got the right idea. Get them to Allen. My daughter’s favorite T-shirt is something like “Happiness is Allen Field House with 16,000 of my closest friends.”

  • Interesting article from last year judging the success of programs since 2000 based on the NCAA tournament bracket pool scoring. I’ve updated the totals, and the score comes out like this (top 12 for Wissox):

    1. Kansas 69 (68 +1)

    2. UConn 68 (52 + 16)

    3. (tie) Michigan State 67 (63 + 4)

    4. (tie) Florida 67 (59 + eight)

    5. North Carolina 65 (64 + 1)

    6. Duke 59 (59 + 0)

    7. Kentucky 56 (44 + 12)

    8. Louisville 46 (42 + 4)

    9. Syracuse 40 (38 + 2)

    10. UCLA 37 (36 + 1)

    11. Arizona 36 (32 + 4)

    12. WIsconsin 32 (24 + eight)

    Round of 64 loss = 0 points. Round of 32 loss = 1 point, Sweet 16 loss = 2 points, Elite Eight loss = 4 points, Final Four loss = 8 points, Championship Game loss = 12 points, National Champions = 16 points

    edited to fix bad auto numbering

  • @nuleafjhawk

    Dang nuleaf, next time you have an extra ticket, I can drive up from here, just give me 12 hours notice!

    @DanR Thanks for sharing. Glad to see the Badgers in that elite list! It’s interesting that Ohio State is not in that list. They’ve had some pretty good success in the tourney it seems.

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  • @nuleafjhawk +1. Great story!

  • Thanks for sharing. Glad to see the Badgers in that elite list! It’s interesting that Ohio State is not in that list. They’ve had some pretty good success in the tourney it seems.

    @wissoxfan83 Not really. Since 2000 they went out in the second round in 2000, 2001 and 2002. They missed the tournament until 2006 and a second rnd exit.
    2007 lost to Florida for the national title. 2008 no show 2009 lost to Siena in first rnd. 2010 third rnd loss 2011 third rnd loss 2012 lost to KU!!! Final 4 2013 Lost Elite 8 to WSU 2014 Knocked out in the round of 64 teams

    Thad Matta took over in 2004

  • @JRyman

    Really! So if you click on the link that DanR shared you’ll see OSU at #12. The list is a year old so they’ve dropped a little, but they’re right there, and if they can win a few, they’ll be right back in the 10-12 spot on that list.

  • @wissoxfan83 But there is no point deduction for not making the tournament. YOu are not penalized for not going, but rewarded by not going, as you can’t get a low number or a zero.

    If I were to do a list that way a loss in the first round would be -1 and not going would be -5.

    I am not going to do the math on all of the teams, but I am sure that would change it a lot.

  • @DoubleDD

    “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you got til its gone They paved paradise And put up a parking lot” –Joni Mitchell, “Big Yellow Taxi”

    We are the cradle of college basketball.

    We are the cradle of college basketball coaching.

    We are among the winningest teams in the history of the game.

    We have the winningest coach of the last ten years, or did last year.

    We’ve won 10 straight conference championships.

    We won a ring in 2008.

    We had have had two of the number one ranked recruits in the last five years.

    Many of the top recruits put us on their list of 5-10 schools they are considering.

    We have a bunch of players in the NBA.

    I don’t wake up fearing we will be forfeiting a season and battling to avoid a death penalty.

    I don’t have to take a shower after watching our coach.

    I like our arena more than any other in college basketball.

    I like our legacy more than any other in college basketball.

    I like our now more than any other in college basketball.

    Our coaching tree is overwhelmingly awesome.

    Our cheerleaders are so good looking I can hardly stand it.

    I wish we had won more tournaments.

    I don’t wish I graduated from UConn, Kentucky, or Duke ever.

    I would like to have graduated from Cal Tech, but their commitment to basketball is lacking.

    I respect UNC only since Dean was at UNC.

    I never look at other coaches and wish they were coaching KU instead of Bill Self.

    I consider UNC to be a school desirably defined only by its KU coaches.

    I wish there were still an inland ocean, so KU would be perfect.

    All blood is red.

    I love my school.

    I have only two things I have never envied someone else about.

    College basketball.

    And my wife.

    In a perfect world my wife would have gone to KU and love KU basketball the way I do.

    The world is not perfect.

    This is all a lot of damnned nonsense to me.

    Enjoy your introspections.

    Everyone needs to do it some times.

    I did it once upon a time.

    But once you’ve done it, you’re gonna feel just like I do.

    At least about KU basketball.

    Rock Chalk!

  • @jaybate 1.0 I love it!

  • @jaybate 1.0 The omnipresent and wise counterpoint. Very nice.

    But as the little girl says on the AT&T commercial, “I want more.” Don’t you want more? Wanting more does not necessarily mean that you don’t appreciate what you have.

    And by saying another program has achieved national championship greatness that we have not achieved, does not mean one would trade places with that program. I would say that I don’t think anyone has said that … I for one have not.

    But that said, can’t we appreciate, be grateful … and realistically want more? Particularly when “more” has been sitting there on a silver platter multiple times, right there within in our reach? Yet factors other than “luck” appear to be preventing our ultimate meal?


  • @jaybate 1.0

    You just copied what I wrote above!

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  • @JayhawkInMizery leading Missouri folks down the right path, should be rewarded!!! Good job!

  • @nuleafjhawk Awesome story!!! My fiancee who for whatever reason is a mizzery fan (yes i know, What the hell is wrong with me?) but she is a good sport and goes to KU games all over the country with me. The first time I took her to AFH she talked about how awesome it was. I even caught her singing the slow chant at the end of the game. Slowly I’m coverting her. I even convinced her to take our engagement pictures on campus!

    @crimsonorblue22 accidentally psoted that one under an account I created when the site first opened that I forgot about.

  • @wissoxfan83 Excellent post … and I will agree with HEM, most definitely.

  • @MoonwalkMafia So are you doing graduate work there? I recall that you worked in downtown Lawrence at a restaurant for a while, correct? – the “Tyler Roberson was completely disinterested” information.

  • @HawkInMizery You have your Missouri fan wife singing rock chalk Jayhawk? You are a true patriot.

  • @HighEliteMajor Haha, I will forever be remembered for the Tyler Roberson information at Jefferson’s. Although I tried to give the inside information on all the recruits Self brought in. I remember when Self brought Jahil Okafor and Tyus Jones in and my friend and I were like “Is that Stan Van Gundy?” We were in shock. And there he was. Stan Van Gundy. Wearing gross shower sandals on a freezing cold day. Okafor looked to be having the time of his life, while Jones looked like a pouty eighth grader. At least that’s how I remember it.

    But to answer your question, yes, I’m doing graduate work at Ohio State.

  • @HighEliteMajor Thank you! I do what I can. She was a big Mizery fan when we met but she’s toned it down a lot, i think the only reasons she still wears their colors is to annoy me. She’s gone to STl with me for the Elite 8. She went to Dallas with me last year for the Sweet 16, but you know what she’s never done? Actually gone to any type of MU game. She is a fan by default because she grew u in MO and her dad was one.

  • I would rather think of things in terms of national prominence. So how do you measure national prominence. I am going to attempt to do a project over the next day or two with the following system.

    Things that have happened in the previous three years are the most valuable. Things that happened 4-6 years ago are half as valuable as the most recent events. Things that happened 7-10 years ago are half as valuable as that. Things that happened more than 10 years ago are half as valuable as that.

    A national championship is worth 20 points in my scale (which means a title this year is worth 20, but a title 15 years ago is only worth 2.5). Recent greatness is more valuable than long ago greatness. A title game appearance is worth 10 points (after all, nobody makes t-shirts saying “national finalist”). A Final Four appearance is worth 8. An Elite 8 appearance is worth 4. Everything else is worth 1 point (Sweet 16, Round of 32, Making the tournament, Conference title, conference tournament title, number 1 seed).

    So why weight it like that? Well, TV is the name of the game. Simply put, most fans watch their team during the season, and their conference. A few hoops junkies will watch more games than that, but for most, they watch their team and that’s it. So nationally, conference stuff isn’t that important. Even the tournament isn’t that strong an indicator of national prominence. For most major conference programs, making the tournament isn’t really a huge cause for celebration. I reward the things that stick out. Number one seeds get special note in the field, so they get a point, but just because you were a number 1 seed in 1992 doesn’t make you prominent today. You can be rewarded for multiple things in a season (i.e. winning both the regular season and conference tournament title), but you only get credit for your NCAA tournament finish (i.e. KU would get 2 points for this year, 2 points for last year and 10 points for 2012).

    So let’s take the potential blue bloods and see how Kansas, UCLA, Kentucky, Indiana, Duke, UNC, and Louisville stack up with some strong programs like UConn, Georgetown, Oklahoma, Syracuse, Ohio State, Michigan and Arizona.

    I’m using NCAA tournament finishes because trying to quantify the value of the NIT in the 50’s is impossible.

    Results hopefully sometime this week.

  • @justanotherfan Can they get a -1 or something for years they missed the NCAA tournament.

    Not that I am asking you to do this, but should probation count against them as well? What about scandals? Those should be negative factors in my minds eye.

  • During college and immediately following I worked at a couple Jewish country clubs on Long Island…and everyone referred to the non-Hebrew clubs as “blue blood clubs.”

    No jokes…just found it interesting…

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Yes I want more.

    More life.

    More sex.

    More money.

    More travel.

    More championships.

    More HEM posts.

    But I have worked hard to get to my !@#$%ing Zen state and so I have to keep things in balance. 🙂

    There is no doubt that Bill Self missed a couple of ring opps that he should have finished on.

    There is no doubt that he has mastered winning percentage and conference titles and has not yet mastered winning rings.

    There is also no doubt that everyone has begun to study and copy everything he does. Its not just the chop. Calhoun’s Kemba team was a 100% carbon copy of what Self did offensively. Total. Even his defensive scheming was, too. Watch tape of Calhoun’s pre Kemba teams. He hadn’t started copying Self yet. Hell, half the coaches are now copying Self’s technique of sending teams out flat for a low possession game against the lesser team in 2 in 3 in the season (Saturday Monday), or the tournament, in order to save an amping on full energy for the better team; that’s why their are getting to be so many upsets. Its not about parity. Its Self’s strategy to get the most out of what he has in 2 in 3 that is being copied. Its a high percentage strategy that a certain percentage of the time blows up in your face. But now that everyone is doing it we are seeing all kinds of upsets, because of the structural risk of doing it. People have copied his junk 3-2 zone with the two inside guys playing zone and the three outside guys playing man. Until this season, specifically the last three seasons, opposing coaches have been increasingly emulating his disruption statistic approach to winning. Steals plus blocks and alters divided by TOs. Self was the first to systematize trying to win that statistic. The new rules ended that emulation. But notice what Self did in response to the rules. He was among the first this season to abandon disruption totally, to focus instead on trying hold the trips down, raise the points per possession and basically turn games into FT shooting contests. Ryan may have beaten him to it, but more likely Ryan has always played this way and Self saw how perfect Ryan’s approach was for the new rules. And there is probably a lot more that I am not smart enough to figure out. Self IS THE MODEL EVERYONE IS COPYING that cannot haul in a bunch of OADs each season and return two former OADS.

    There is no doubt the competition has caught up to most of what he does. It has happened to every coach but one: John R. Wooden. That was why he was justly called The Wizard.

    But there is also no doubt that Bill has already adapted a new model; that he is presently laboring some with it.

    Last season he abandoned the one OAD supplementing an experienced core and moved to a 2-3 OAD model. He could have signed lesser players that would have been here longer–players like Kevin Young that helped get him to the National Finals–but instead, when the OAD door finally opened for him, he walked right in. We know it was consciously done, because this season he signed two more. Signing OADs is a one way street. Once you start, there is no turning back.

    But notice Self didn’t jump to Cal’s unlimited OAD model. Why? Because Self rightly reasons that even Cal’s greatest unlimited OAD teams only have had three players each with MUA that he could not scheme to stop. So: Self only seeks three OADs and that’s what he now signs. He also knows getting three every year without a World Wide Wes is about the absolute max he can hope fore. Two is feasible. Three can often be done. He has Alexander and Oubre. The plan is obviously to sign Turner, because he couldn’t attract an OAD PG; then he keeps developing the 3-4 year bigs another season, so that in next year’s recruiting class he can hopefully get lucky and land an OAD PG, an OAD 3, only one OAD big, and slide by with a 3-4 year big, or a Cliff Alexander hold over. This is clearly what Self is trying to do.

    But just as clearly it is all new to him and it has a lot of kinks to be worked out. Self clearly understands what everyone else comments on. His system has always been based on long term team building with guys that he spends years to build up their individual skills, teamwork skills, and emotional toughness. His prior system depended on conditioning his players to the point that he could push their buttons at will and get the responses that he sought. But he understood, and perhaps sooner than most, that that all had to change. Boot camps had to be cut. He couldn’t run off prima donnas from the program anymore. He couldn’t rip guys apart and put them back together. None of that stuff could be used anymore, No more benching stars and putting them in toughening boxes for a month at a time. No more any of that because he couldn’t afford to run any one off, if he could help it. Nor could he give off the impression that having an OAD was anything but fun, even though deep down he probably thinks they are low foundation bumblers with high ceilings. No more playing an OAD like Josh Selby out of position. No more playing through Seniors and using Xavier to stretch defenses. The moment he went to the three OAD model, OADs had to start and they had to play most of the minutes most of the season. No more hard guy. No more driving players till they threatened to hit you in the huddles. No Marine Corp in petro adidas.

    It was unrealistic for anyone to think he was going to put his program through a complete revamping like this and win a ring instantly. I seriously doubt Self thought for a red dirt minute that he had a prayer of winning a ring this season the moment he saw that Wigs and Selden couldn’t hit the broad side of an agent runner from trifectaville. I bet he didn’t fantasize about a ring until Embiid came around quicker than quick. To be blunt, Self was using Wigs, Selden and Embiid and their low foundations and high ceilings to underwrite a transition year into this new model without having a .500 season. Self is probably tickled to death with 10 losses and a conference title from a team full of overrated freshman that couldn’t buy a 40% trey with ten bricks of Vlad Putin’s gold bullion.

    At the same time, there is no doubt that Self has run into serious speed bumps the last three seasons, before retooling for the OAD era.

    His speed bumps started after missing his golden opp for a ring with the last season of the Morri. Self admitted he missed a golden opp with the last Morri team. He just didnt dwell on it after admitting it. And I guess in this age of Oprah-conditioned confessionalism, apparently nothing short of Bill going on Ellen and admitting to liking Four Weddings and a Funeral would have sufficed. But I guaranty you that Self knew he missed his shot, when he held the aces; knew he would rue the day down stream when a season like this past one finally had to be endured without a ring more recent than '08.

    But acting as Bill’s apologist in this post, who else would have thought to prepare a team to have to play 2 in 3 versus a Princeton team (Richmond) and an XTReme Conditioned team (VCU)? This is what so many forget. And that VCU team was a heckuva club, too, with an athletic freak at center (a tireless 6-9 260 pounder grinder/runner). We should have beaten VCU. We would have beaten VCU if we had played any other kind of team than a Princeton team 48 hours before.

    That VCU loss IMHO pushed all of Self’s buttons and was what produced the phenomenal job he did with the 2012 Finals team. That team was supposed to have had Ben Mac and Jamari on it. They had to sit. Ben’s greatness and both players added depth might have gotten that team past even UK’s stacked deck. We’ll never know, but that team did fight back and got close to Kentucky. What if Ben Mac had come in at that point and ripped off two quick treys and a lob dunk? What if he had been able to play 20 minutes a piece for Travis with a bad ankle and EJ with a bad shoulder? Ifs and buts, I know, but Self would probably have another ring and everyone would still be post tumescent still!

    The next year his five star point guard has a knee that never heels and he never gets his pop back. And Zach Peters, for what ever reason, goes to head injury hollow, and reputedly starts talking to people that aren’t there, and then bolts the program. Oh, and Self has to patch EJ with Tharpe, because of some recruiting misses, and Tharpe can’t guard his own shadow and turns out, we learn a year later, to be an erratic personality a selfie short of an iPhoto album regarding insight off the floor and insight about how to run a team on the floor.

    Then this season, he signs the low foundation, high ceiling triplets and has to learn to coach a new way. You know the way. Lots of smiles, the kind of reassurances you used to reserve for older women you were trying to bed. Heels of palms pressed on eye balls when the short timers aren’t looking.

    I am making excuses for Self, because that is what an apologist is supposed to do. I’m trying to lay out the best case for Self, because so many have been laying out the case against him.

    Great men, or should I say men who are exceptional at what they do, need defending sometimes. Not often. But sometimes. Self isn’t the first one I’ve defended and he won’t be the last. Its a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.

    He’s won 80% plus of his games, etc., etc. yattta, yatta.

    Along the way, Self turned 50 and until a man, even the best adjusted man, turns 50 he doesn’t know the wringer it can be. Its like a de-Bar Mitzvah in which you are saying good bye, rather than hello, to the prime of your life. Its looking at your woman and knowing no matter how cool you were to her, you’re not that cool anymore, and that dorks half your age that have no idea what cool even is, are now cooler than you can be with all the money in untraceable bailouts Blackstone could buy shares in adidas with.

    All this horseshit about poor, poor women losing their looks at 30 is nothing compared to men losing their cool at 50. To get some perspective on this, leap out of the neutered present and go back to the golden age of Hollywood, when men were at least still portrayed to have a pair. Look at Clark Gable in Red Dust, or It Happened One Night, then look at him in Mogambo. In Red Dust he could burn Jean Harlow down with a look. By Mogambo he is worldly and knows women inside and out, but look at him, at how he moves and his facial expressions. The unselfconscious cool is gone. When you’re 50 try it. Dress cool, wear your favorite shades, and take them off in front of a cougar and watch her keep sniffing for scent in other directions. Smell is the last untamed sense in humans. It can be covered, but it cannot be mistaken. A young man’s scent is not musk, or anything that can be smelled and put into words. It is to women’s olfactory system what an ultra high pitched whistle only a dog can here is to a person, something going on without their conscious awareness. When its gone its gone. People that love you, pals that still care about you, still say you’re cool, that you could still chat the panties off the Kate Upton clone on the next bar stool, but deep down you know it could only happen with money and the worldly schtick and plugging into the daddy port on the babe 1.0 auto-bulls eyeing on the bar at the hottest restaurant in town. You know that 23 year old hottie that you used to be able to get the attention of with scent a lone, would now take a few thousand bucks and plane tickets to ski the Mer d’ Glas above Chamonix to bag. Turn 50 and you know that they are interested in your mind and your money and not in that order. The want to is there, even the prove it all night virility is there for awhile longer, even the killer smile may remain, but the scent that makes glances turn into next mornings, or long nooners, without words; that is gone. In time you learn good riddance to it, but in the moment it is like someone cut off your arm and it still feels like its there even though you know its gone. Ghost sent I named it. Scent for a short while you think is there that isn’t. Great comedians and great ass bandits have great timing and know when to quit the job, when to leave it to younger guys. But that doesn’t mean they don’t wish they didn’t know it was time to hang it up–not just to continue being honorable some have been throughout the entirety of their marriages, but because the scent is gone.

    (Note: I’m not suggesting anything about the nature of Bill’s fidelity, or lack there of. Some of the coolest men I have known, some of the men with the most powerful scent–scent that ignited women into Cherries en flambé with just a holstered smile–never once cheated on their women. Not talkin’ bout cheatin’. Talkin’ bout scent.)

    Self has probably lost his scent.

    It happens.

    What the lord giventh, the lord taketh away.

    Self has probably gotten adjusted to it about now.

    But its absence changes how you look at everything, how you see everything.

    It changes what you think is important and which sacrifices are worth making.

    Its not that you lose your chip on your shoulder, its that you look at it differently, and you have to find a new way to take others down before they get a chance to knock it off.

    Some men do their best work after the scent is gone.

    Some men don’t.

    Only time tells.

    My hunch is that Self has gotten through the worst of the change after this past season.

    And he got through it without falling to .500, like all the other coaches did when they lost their scents.

    I’m not saying he won’t have another tough season or two.

    Cliff Alexander, good as he may be, IS NOT going to be as dominant as Joel Embiid–the sweetest ballin’ macaroon from Cameroon that ever strapped 'em up and dunked through his own scent.

    But Cliff may be good enough, especially if Oubre happens to have a higher foundation than Wigs had, which really is not very improbable at all (talkin’ bout foundations, not talkin’ bout ceilings), and our 4 year bigs keep getting better, and someone takes the Point Guard pill and learns to be a ball distributing, rim driving, dervish that guard his shadow and keep his phone in his pocket and his pecker in his briefs (gimmme back my briefs!!!, as Frankie shouts in the anime cartoon) at parties.

    Well, HEM, even an apologist has to man up to certain realities like point guard.

    Until a point guard develops, or gets recruited, or randomly mutates, or gets MK/Ultra-ed into KU silks, another 10-12 loss season is probably the best we can hope for.

    But think about it (with or without scent).

    A couple of 10-12 loss seasons is tolerable to start moving toward getting this new hoops model Self is working on greased up and running smoothly.

    In fact, its great.

    Not falling to .500, not falling entirely out of the hunt for lady luck’s ring, is not bad at all.

    And that’s the thing about Self.

    You get to win more.

    You don’t fall as far, when the inevitable retooling happens.

    And when he figures this new model out, you’re going to get another ring.

    And contrary to popular belief, he does learn from his mistakes. He just happens to be human and sometimes makes more that compound with the original one that he nearer to solving.

    If I can leave you with one thought in this long winded (that’s my middle name, right) apologia, it would be this quote by a smart Buddhist woman whose books have helped me a few times over the years.

    “Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.”–Pema Chodron

    These early exits in the tourney persist because there is something not only Bill needs to learn, but all the rest of us in this living myth of KU basketball need to learn too. And they will go away when he and we have learned it. For this reason, I want to thank you and all the rest of our august board rats here laboring away in the bothness of life because I can feel that we are all inevitably getting to what we need to learn.

    Go, Bill, go!!!

    Go, HEM, go!!!

    Go, Kate Upton, go!!!

    Go, Jayhawk nation, go!!!

  • @wissoxfan83

    The similarity was accidental, not multi-collinearity, but maybe great quantitative half wits, like us, think alike. 🙂

    Note that I posted something else that is probably not so much like what you posted. 🙂

    P.S.: This past Bucky team was to Bo Ball what the 2012 KU team was to Self Ball. Both of them were great, great,great “teams.” It hurt when they lost, just like when the '12 KU team lost, but in both cases the losses were made easier by the greatness of how far they took the team concept. On the coin of the basketball “team” realm, the '14 Buckies can be the offensive side of the coin and the '12 Jaybirds can be the defensive side. I truly loved both teams.

  • @jaybate 1.0

    And everyone is back except for their shooting guard. And Bronson Koenig who played great agains Kentucky, will be ready to step in as a sophomore in his place. He was recruited by KU too.

    And quantitative half wits hits the nail on the head to describe us!

  • @JRyman

    I didn’t take away points for missing the tournament or scandals for a pretty basic reason - those things don’t resonate in the memory. For instance, Florida missed the tournament in 2008 and 2009. That doesn’t stick in the memory like their back to back titles do.

    I didn’t count scandals for the same reason. UConn was suspended from the postseason because of APR last year. They won titles in 2011 and 2014. Which sticks out more? 5 years from now, will people remember 2 titles in 4 years or the year they were suspended for APR?

    When it comes to national prominence, missing the tournament doesn’t make much difference because in our memories, we assume that the big time programs - KU, UK, Duke, UNC, Indiana, Louisville, UCLA, UConn, Georgetown, Syracuse, OSU, Michigan, Arizona, etc. are in the field every year anyway. Maybe they aren’t getting deep into the tournament, but our memory tells us they are there, even if they missed a year here or there.

    I have no idea what the results of my system will be, or where KU will rank. I’m pretty sure when I finish I will find the flaws here - for instance, I am already trying to decide if the conference tournament should be worth half the regular season tournament (because it’s easier to get hot for a weekend) or the same because its more likely that people will see you win the conference title outside your region. Results still to follow, hopefully later today or early tomorrow.

  • @justanotherfan

    From a purely QA point of view, conference titles should probably not be counted at all. The rank order of performance in conference is by definition built into the seedings of the NCAA tournament, regardless of what place a team finishes it’s conference. The only reason to try to win a conference title, is to get a one seed. The only reason to try to finish second, or to win a conference tournament, is to get a two seed, and so on. Tournament seeding, despite it’s flaws, combined with tournament performance, probably constitute the best global indicators of dominance available. Combine them with a winning margin statistic in the tournament and one will have a fairly reliable and robust rank order of dominance each season, and for periods of years. Whatever approach is used, double counting effects of dominance should be minimized.

  • So here are the findings prior to including conference titles (either tournament or regular season, as some of that information is going to be difficult to come by).

    1. Kentucky - 68.5
    2. North Carolina - 49.75
    3. Louisville - 49.625
    4. UConn - 45.375
    5. UCLA - 44.75
    6. Kansas - 42.375 (tied, KU gets the upper hand by having more points in the last three years).
    7. Duke - 42.375 (tied)
    8. Michigan - 31
    9. Ohio State - 30.875
    10. Michigan State - 29.375
    11. Syracuse - 25
    12. Indiana - 22.625
    13. Arizona - 20
    14. Georgetown - 14
    15. Oklahoma - 12.25

    Some things of note:

    • Indiana isn’t really a blue blood according to this list. The fact that they haven’t had much success in the last 10 years kills them in this system. Only 3.75 of their points have been amassed over the last decade.

    • UConn is boosted by their two recent titles. That’s 30 of their points. They also are helped by the fact that they have been a fairly consistent tournament participant throughout history.

    • Kentucky pulls away from the field in just about every category. Most title points, most Runner up points, plenty of F4 and E8 points and in the field fairly regularly when they weren’t going deep into the tournament.

    • The lack of overall titles drags KU’s number down. Even with the recent title, KU trails all of the multiple champions except MSU in that category. Since I weighted championships pretty heavily, that hurts.

    • Louisville is a blue blood. They have the history and the recent success to back that up.

    • UCLA is in jeopardy of having an Indiana type fall. Most of their points are tied to their titles. They only have 10.5 points in the last decade (basically the same value Michigan got from their title game appearance last year). If they don’t right the ship in Westwood soon, they will start to see some of those Big 10 teams pass them.

    • Michigan State, Ohio State and Michigan are about as close as it can get. I find it ironic that 0.125 points is all that separates Michigan and Ohio State. Michigan has the last two seasons to thank for jumping ahead of OSU.

    • The gap between Kentucky and everyone else is surprising, because even if you took out the weightings, UK would still be ahead of everyone because they keep going to F4s, while UCLA has not had sustained success over the last 20 years.

  • @justanotherfan Thats awesome to see. great work!!

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