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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

No surprise here

Jayhawks’ success doesn’t shock Big 12 coaches

Kansas University coach Bill Self, right, talks to his team during the Jayhawks’ game against Kansas State on Jan. 13 at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas State coach Frank Martin isn’t surprised by how far the young Jayhawks have come under Self this season. Self “is as good as it gets,” Martin said.

Kansas University coach Bill Self, right, talks to his team during the Jayhawks’ game against Kansas State on Jan. 13 at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas State coach Frank Martin isn’t surprised by how far the young Jayhawks have come under Self this season. Self “is as good as it gets,” Martin said.

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GameDay Cram Session: Texas Tech

Jesse and Tom look at the matchup between Kansas and Texas Tech.

Self: KU had best half since UNC game

According to Kansas head coach Bill Self, KU's game against Missouri at Allen Fieldhouse featured perhaps the best half of basketball the Jayhawks have played since they faced North Carolina in the 2008 NCAA Tournament.

— Kansas University’s Big 12 rivals never bought into that talk about a rebuilding season. Despite replacing all five starters, the defending national champions were in first place heading into the final week of conference play.

“They recruit good players; they don’t recruit bad players,” Kansas State coach Frank Martin said Monday on the Big 12 coaches teleconference. “You just knew at the end of the year they were going to be right in the middle of it.

“Bill Self is as good as it gets.”

Martin rates Sherron Collins the best guard in the Big 12, calling him “unguardable.” He said 6-foot-11 Cole Aldrich was the “best presence at the rim on both ends of the court in the league.”

The ninth-ranked Jayhawks, who have won four straight conference titles, are coming off a 90-65 spanking of No. 15 Missouri on Sunday.

Texas Tech’s Pat Knight, whose team hosts the Jayhawks on Wednesday, expected Kansas (24-5, 13-1 Big 12) to be a contender back in October.

“I thought it was kind of funny when everybody was trying to count him out before the season just because he has young kids,” Knight said. “They just reload every year. If Bill’s coaching the team, they’re going to be good.”

Collins was a top reserve last season with 15 double-digit scoring games.

He led the way against Missouri with 25 points.

“Everybody’s talking about what they lost, and he’s saying, ‘What about me?”’ Knight said. “They’re kind of playing with a chip on their shoulder, and they’ve picked it up. Boy, they’re playing well.”

Self believes the Final Four experience is paying off, even if players had only bit roles last season.

“Our guys that were here and part of that team have passed on to the other young guys that, ‘Hey, we can do this,’” Self said. “We’re not closing our eyes and dreaming it, we saw it firsthand.

“I do believe that having done something you dreamed of doing can’t help but give you confidence. That if we can just put ourselves in the game we can do this again.”

Saturday spotlight

For the first time, the conference tournament will wrap up on a Saturday. Coaches have pushed for the schedule change, which will give the NCAA selection committee a day to sort out things.

In past years, the committee had just a few hours to factor in results from the championship game. The tournament is March 11-14 in Oklahoma City.

“Our whole conference is done, we’re fresh in their minds, and they don’t have to wait around to see who beats who,” Knight said. “We’ve got all our stuff done, and they can start slotting teams right away.

“They say it probably didn’t hurt us (in the past), but I think a lot of coaches agree maybe it did.”

Schools also get an extra 24 hours of rest and preparation time.

When the bracket plays out, it’s no big deal for the selection committee to flip-flop teams after the finale, but Self said schools are in a no-win situation when a potential No. 6 NCAA seed upsets a potential No. 1. Under that scenario, Self said, the committee would be likely to play it safe and slot one team as a No. 2 and avoid adjusting the lower seed.

“I’ve studied this a little bit, and it seems to me the more time they have, anybody, the better chance you can get it the way it should be,” Self said. “Thirty or 45 minutes isn’t enough time to do some of those things.”

Oklahoma State’s Travis Ford would rather the entire conference tournament not be a factor. He pointed out that first-round byes can be a mixed blessing because it eliminates another shot at building the résumé.

“If you can get a bye and be one of the top four teams in this league, then I think you’ve done something pretty special,” Ford said. “I think conference tournaments need to be put out of play, period.”

No name

A seven-game losing streak prompted Baylor coach Scott Drew to remove players’ names from their jerseys. Drew hasn’t decided whether to leave them off the rest of the season.

“It was just the team getting together and finding a couple of different things we could focus on,” Drew said, before the Bears lost Monday. “We really wanted to focus on playing for Baylor.

“We lost seven in a row, and we needed to get back to basics.”

Comments

Lance Hobson 10 years, 10 months ago

What an incredibly great move to have the championship game Saturday!!!! I have been asking for this for years, but of course no one listens to me. It's about time! Nationally, no one ever paid attention to our winner because they went right into the bracket show and this overshadowed everything. Also, the committee almost always say they had their seeds decided before the outcome of the championship game was decided.

This is such a great move, it's about time! I can't wait for this year's tourney, it may be one of the best in years.

mandomax 10 years, 10 months ago

Rock chalk Wednesday night. Go get 'em boys

JazzEgle 10 years, 10 months ago

Like father like son. That's been valpo's offense for the last few years. As a student I saw it way too often.

Eurekahwk 10 years, 10 months ago

How many shots did Josh Lomers even take this season? That guy is a truck. There's no reason why he can't back everyone down and come away with easy put-ins.

keith horinek 10 years, 10 months ago

I'm glad to see other coaches appreciate Collins and Aldrich and other KU players, because, being a KU fan I like to see or players get attention in the league. But I don't think I would have quoted Coach Martin in this article. I'm not sure how well respected he is in the league and I certainly don't value his opinion. Just a thought.

KU 10 years, 10 months ago

I think Martin is gaining respect from league coaches. They knew he could recruit with Dalonte Hill by his side. He's bringing in a McD All-American again next year. But the thing that's turning coaches on to him is that he seems to be able to get his kids to play with abandon night in and night out. Coaches respect that. I think the jury is still out on whether he'll be a great X's and O's coach, but he's got two out of three already. And as they say, that ain't bad.

Personally, I hope Martin turns into a great coach. I miss the days of a competitive in-state rivalry. (I'm not even talking about football, where we seem to own KSU now.)

jacqueshock 10 years, 10 months ago

"For the first time, the conference tournament will wrap up on a Saturday."

Man, I've been wanting that to happen for a long, long time. That was always the case with the Big East Tournament and I think the Pac-10, but the Big 12 and SEC would finish on Sunday and about 2 hours before the selection time. I think all conference tournaments should finish by that last Saturday.

zissou 10 years, 10 months ago

Oljhwk, say you don't like Martin's coaching style or use the worn out excuse that he's an AAU coach in over his head, but don't try to say he's not respected in this league. As KU said, good coaches (and there are several in the Big 12) recognize when one of their peers gets his team to play hard — I guarantee the respect Martin shows to Self is mutual.

Speaking of which, Frank Martin gets quoted in a lot of these stories — because he will always give his opinion. He respects Bill Self, KU and our entire program and isn't afraid to make that known.

Not that he cares, but I, in turn, respect that.

Robert Brock 10 years, 10 months ago

I thought that K-State would completely implode following the departure of Beasley and Walker. Instead, Martin has managed to put a decent product on the floor (although I must give a demerit to one of the knuckle-head players. You know the one...).

Ervin O'Neal 10 years, 10 months ago

Anyone know why this story is based out of St. Louis? Just curious.

And to Coach Self, keep up the great work!

jrschreppel 10 years, 10 months ago

One more comment about CBS form Tulsa TV station KOTV

I certainly understand your frustration! Please understand that we here at KOTV have no control over what CBS Sports decides to cover. I would suggest calling the CBS complaint line at 212-975-3247. If you do, please let me know what the reasoning was behind CBS's move, I'd love to hear it!

Sincerely,

Richard Clark Executive Producer of NewsOn6.com 918-732-6220 richard.clark@newson6.net

Jayhawk444 10 years, 10 months ago

Why does everybody think having the conf tournament end on Saturday is such a good thing? I guess from a personal standpoint, I don't really like having the tournament stretch into Sunday. But as far as the impact on tournament selection, I would think if an upset occurs in the conf semifinals or finals, there is a greater chance KU would be the upsettee rather than the upsetter. In these situations, KU would benefit more from having their upset loss occur just an hour before the selections are announced giving the committee very little time to figure out how to drop KU from the #1 line to the #2 or #3 line, for example. The way I see it, KU is more likely to be hurt than helped by this change. It is the perennial #3-#6 seeds that are most likely to benefit,

Jared Grillot 10 years, 10 months ago

Yeah... its kinda like the offense that we sometimes use when we've got too big of a lead and we want the other team to have a shot at winning.

As long as we never do this again, I will be happy with our offense, but I just do not understand why we pick up a double digit lead, and suddenly feel the need to chuck up threes on the run for 4 or 5 possessions while (fill in team here) catches back up. It is truly my one and only complaint against the guys this season. Everything else has just been awesome.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 10 months ago

I also agree strikewso! Completely agree! I also just like the extra day of rest potentially because the Big 12 title game is such a "Grind" and hard fought game. If you're playing on late Sunday and then have to come back and play an early morning game on Thursday, that is not much turn around time. I like the new format!

d_prowess 10 years, 10 months ago

I see where Jayhawk444 is coming from, but I would rather drop a line and have that extra day off (especially if we are playing on Thursday) than stay a line higher and have one less day. I think the time off between games is something we take for granted at times, but I am sure the players and coaches appreciate them way more!

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Coach Self has just quietly raised the standard...“I do believe that having done something you dreamed of doing can’t help but give you confidence. That if we can just put ourselves in the game we can do this again.” Notice the last five words.

Added Day Off Before Selections: No-brainer. Absolutely necessary to get fair treatment. Even Bill James couldn't effectively resolve bubbles in a 64 team tourney in 35-45 minutes; that was always foolish on the part of the B12.

re Question about Conference Tourneys...Does playing in a tourney right before a tourney act as tourney practice that prepares a team up for tourney style play? Or is it just a revenue generator? If it doesn't tune a team up, then how about giving the conference champion a bye all the way through the conference tourney and letting the rest play to distinguish themselves for seeds?

re Scott Drew...he just discovered how much he needs bigs. Last year he had them; this year he did not.

memo to Drew...forget removing names...try something substantive...add that weird 1-1-3 zone press Aridzona uses.

re Frank Martin...I agree with Brock. I too am impressed with how well Martin's teams has played, while recovering from losing Beasley and Walker. Dalonte gets him the one mickey d playing on the floor that he needs most seasons. Martin finds the perimeter guys he needs. He just has succeeded in maintaining a stable of 3 credible bigs and a fourth in development that consistent 25-win seasons require.

more re Martin...he certainly wins the cunning praise award for his quote about Aldrich...“best presence at the rim on both ends of the court in the league”...he wins favor with the people of the state of Kansas and creates bulletin board material for Blake Griffin of OU, so that Griffin will have further incentive to try to take Cole apart in the conference tourney! Frank knows who he has to beat to survive. He's trying every angle. :-)

re formula for long term 20 plus win success: one mickey d playing a year, four bigs (3 6'8" plus who play big minutes and a tweener), and 3-4 perimeter guys who can shoot the trey and guard, also, one lock downer inside and one outside)...get these and you can retire with a pension after a long, string of 20 plus win seaons. If two offer consistent match-up advantages game in and game out, then you can win league titles and go to the 16. If 3 offer consistent match-up advantages, you can get to the FF. If you have a great post man in the mix, add 5ws.

KGphoto 10 years, 10 months ago

Wow! Dick Clark works at a Tulsa news station? That's quite the career plunge. But not a-typical of a stroke victim with the middle name Wagstaff.

Hey Dick. Why don't you call CBS yourself, you ass muncher.

Then let us know what you find out. We'd love to hear it.

Steve Gantz 10 years, 10 months ago

I agree with Jaybate on the conference tourney. I think they should be scrapped altogether. They can potentially hurt a top team. They're usually not great predictors of success in the NCAA, see our quarterfinal exit in the 1988 big 8, you risk injury, and worst of all, you take away the automatic bid from the team that earned it the most, the regular season champ.
I've seen too where a loss in the conference tourney doesn't hurt a team. No specific examples come to mind, but I remember KU losing in the conference tourney and still getting the #1 seed. Think about it this way too. Your conference, by holding a tourney is putting one more loss on every one of their teams except for the champ. 2/3rds of your teams fare no better than 1-1 in the conf. tourney. How many teams would have made the NCAA except for a conference tourney loss?
Finally a regular season championship would be much more exciting if a team played every team twice. Not having to go on the road to play a tough team is an advantage. We don't go to Texas this year. Now granted Texas is down a bit, but that's a tough road game. Less games against the Washburns of the world and more conference games please. Of course that is going to cost some league teams more losses too.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 10 months ago

Jayhawk444 - Your reasoning is a bunch of homerism.

KU will be the #1 seed in our tourney, but the Big Dance will have us seeded behind OU going in. One of Texas years (Ford & Aldridge?), it was a similar scenario. We won the tourney, but didn't get the benefit of the W, because the seeding was already set.

In addition to the extra rest and the reality of history, there is also the notion of being equitable. We already get accused of favoritism, and you want to perpetuate it as a basis for policy? My guess is that you either didn't compete, or it was long enough ago that you have forgotten what competition and sportsmanship are all about. A real athlete wants to prove that he/she is the best (he/she can be). It is seen in the sentiment expressed by the players when they didn't get to compete against Blake in the OU game.

keith horinek 10 years, 10 months ago

The big 12 tournement may be a bit more fair for the teams seeded 5 thru 8 if we left the bootom 4 at home. That would give the top eight teams all a fair chance. Also, to have more quality teams in the NCAA tournement I would like to see a minimum qulification to get in. Something like a minimum of 20 wins. Even if you win your conf. tournement, you would need 20 wins to get in. Every year we see a few teams get in that have losing records but got hot and won their tournement and that invariably leaves good at large teams out. FYI, you can defend Coach Martin all you want, but I still don't like the way he coaches. The next time he berates one of his players for making a mistake in the game, and young kids do make mistakes, look at Coach Martins eyes.

AsadZ 10 years, 10 months ago

I am out of the country and could not watch this game. Does anyone know of any site where I can watch KU-MU game video?

Craig Lang 10 years, 10 months ago

I just prefer having the tournament end on a Sunday because it means that I can get a full weekend of Big 12 basketball, rather than having it end on Saturday. It's especially great for those of us who travel to see the tournament live, because we only have to take one day off of work (Friday -- I never go to the first round games) instead of two (Thursday and Friday).

I really do not think it plays that big a difference as to what the selection committee decides to do. Besides, if you think your team belongs in the No. 1 seeds, then it should win all of the games in its region, regardless of where it is actually seeded. I don't think Kansas had it any easier last year just because they captured a No. 1 seed. They played like champions and proved that they could beat anybody! It had nothing to do with its seeding.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

If KU were to run the table and win the conference tourney, they are almost assured of a 1 seed, given the number of top ten upsets that occur during this same period.

But can KU beat OU with Griffin?

I have no reasoning at this point why, just a hunch: they can.

cklarock 10 years, 10 months ago

One of the adjustments I had to make as a Jayhawk fan between the Williams and Self era, was turning off my mental adjustment for hyperbole. Roy would use hyperbole like Frank Martin uses hair grease -- plenty, and often. His words were manipulative, intended to create an impression rather than communicate directly.

Bill doesn't use hyperbole much. He generally says it the way that he means it, and has been very straightforward during his time at Kansas. So when he says "if we can just put ourselves in the game we can do this again," that's exactly what he means, and exactly the way he means it.

Now, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that he knows more about basketball than I do, and more about this Kansas team than any one on Earth.

So, all I can say to Bill's radical statement is; "cosign." If we can put ourselves in the game, we can do this again.

Rock freaking Chalk. What an amazing season.

actorman 10 years, 10 months ago

Dare we even dream about the possibility of repeating? Florida got so much credit for winning back-to-back titles with the same starting five. If KU could do it with an entirely different starting five, that would blow Florida's accomplishment out of the water. I don't think it's impossible with this group, but still worry about turnovers against a great defense. I think that's still the biggest issue on this team--not to mention that it's hard to know how the freshmen will react to the added intensity of March Madness.

TwistedFish31 10 years, 10 months ago

I hope everyone has had a chance to visit espn.com and see the photo essay on Allen Fieldhouse! It is on the front page under IN SIDE ESPN at the bottom...you may have to scroll. It is a nice piece of work from ESPN!

ROCK CHALK!

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

ralster,

"Way back in history three thousand years Back ever since the world began There's been a whole lot of good women shed a tear For a brown eyed handsome man That's what the trouble was brown eyed handsome man." --Chuck Berry, Brown Eyed Handsome Man

As Chuck understood, brown eyes have their benefits, too. :-)

Dan Pawlowski 10 years, 10 months ago

"I hope everyone has had a chance to visit espn.com and see the photo essay on Allen Fieldhouse! It is on the front page under in side espn at the bottom...you may have to scroll. It is a nice piece of work from espn!" Yes, Read this Article. To call it an article does not do the story justice. Doug Ward. You sir are a writer.

David Howell 10 years, 10 months ago

JrSchreppel,

Hey Bartian, but local CBS does have control over what is shown. In Kansas they showed the entire KU game, but in the Tulsa market the OU/OSU honchos in charge decided to go away from the game. Like we cared being in the Big 12 region about the SEC and a Tennessee/Florida game with no real star players in it.

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