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Friday, March 13, 2009

Kansas basketball notebook

Baylor center Josh Lomers whips a pass around Kansas defenders Marcus Morris and Cole Aldrich during the first half Thursday, March 12, 2009 at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City.

Baylor center Josh Lomers whips a pass around Kansas defenders Marcus Morris and Cole Aldrich during the first half Thursday, March 12, 2009 at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City.

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KU loses chance at four consecutive tourney titles

Very few coaches have the opportunity to capture four straight conference tournament titles. That's what Bill Self had hoped to accomplish this year.

Audio clips

2009 KU-Baylor March 12

Reader poll

What seed should KU get in the NCAA tournament?

  • 2 6% 165 votes
  • 3 41% 1078 votes
  • 4 37% 989 votes
  • 5 14% 372 votes

2604 total votes.

Bumps, bruises

Kansas University’s Sherron Collins said he banged his left leg in the second half.

“I didn’t adjust to a screen, and we (he and an unnamed Bears player) ran into each other. It didn’t bother me. It didn’t have an effect on the outcome,” Collins said. “It’s the time of season you don’t have your legs under you all the time. I’m all right.”

KU’s Mario Little took a shot to the stomach in the second half. “I’m all right. It knocked the wind out of me,” he said.

Zone trouble

KU’s Cole Aldrich hit three of five shots and two of two free throws for eight points with 14 rebounds.

KU’s perimeter players had trouble feeding him the ball against Baylor’s zone defense.

Coach Bill Self said KU had trouble feeding Aldrich, but that Aldrich shouldered some of the blame, too.

“I think it is a tribute to their zone. I think it is a tribute to our perimeter not doing a great job. Cole has to take responsibility for it, too,” Self said. “Guys have to find a way to get the ball. This was a game in which he labored probably as much as he has at any point in time this year.

“What a zone does — and that was a stretched-out zone where the middle was open — it creates doubt. We weren’t aggressive. We didn’t get to play up against it. I don’t know how many shots we had the second half that we took a step outside our shooting area. We didn’t drive nearly enough. They gapped it and made you drive it.

“It also took us away from second-chance points for whatever reason. We didn’t do a good job on the offensive glass that you would think we would when we shoot that poorly against a zone where it is tougher to block out. All in all, (it was) just a pretty poor performance offensively.”

Dunn shines

LaceDarius Dunn burned KU for 24 points off 9-of-16 shooting, including six of 11 three-pointers.

“We let him get comfortable,” Self said. “Very very discouraging. It is something you tried to hang your hat on and something we did a very poor job of.”

Newbies

Little was enthused playing in his first Big 12 tourney. “I was real excited. I thought we were going to come down here and play hard and try to take the tournament,” he said.

Freshman Tyshawn Taylor noted: “I was excited. I felt we worked real hard to get here (as No. 1 seed). We started slow, then we played real well. It’s a game we knew we had won. We let it go.”

Stats, facts

KU was the second No. 1 seed to lose in a first-round Big 12 tournament game. Baylor beat No. 1 Iowa State in 2001. ... KU is now 12-1 in first-round Big 12 tourney games. The Jayhawks are 25-7 all-time at the event. ... KU is 15-2 all-time versus Baylor. The Bears snapped a seven-game losing streak versus KU. ... KU is 5-2 in Ford Center. ... KU, which was down, 37-33, is 3-4 when trailing at the half. ... KU tied a season low with four steals, while Baylor tied a Kansas opponent season low with seven turnovers. ... Collins tied a Kansas Big 12-tournament record with 20 field-goal attempts and 12 three-point field goal attempts. His 12 three-point attempts are also a career high. ... Aldrich went 2-for-2 from the free-throw line and has now made 16 straight free throws dating to Feb. 23 at Oklahoma.

Comments

trader 10 years, 10 months ago

At the start of the season, the KU coaching staff had basically newbies and a group of prior subs. I consider it a "decent season" to have the overall record and a Big XII regular season championship. March Madness starts next Sunday....or maybe we should say it starts at practice today.

I still have Jayhawk Pride !

lonestarjayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Trader, this time of year and knowing how banged up Cole, Sherron, and others are it would be no suprise to see them take two days off. This loss actually could work in the favor of the Hawks. Taking treatment and recovery time for the heavy minute guys while the young guys do individual sessions is the norm at this time of year. It will be interesting to see how HCBS handles this unexpected time off.

Go Hawks!

Timmay97 10 years, 10 months ago

I wish KU could come into every game during the NCAA tourney as if they lost the first time around against the team they played. For some reason, KU plays better with that mindset. Look what they did to Missouri. I know it was at the Fieldhouse, but you could tell they were TOTALLY up for that game (rival or not). There was something different about them.

They will be fine. It's a slipup and as long as we don't play a team that begins with "B" in the first round, we'll win.

You never get used to losing being a Jayhawk fan. You're gonna lose games, but man does it suck when you do.

rockchalk007 10 years, 10 months ago

Tired players physically and mentally - now is time for rest, not "practice harder than we ever have", maybe overpreparation and overcoaching, trying too hard?

yates33333 10 years, 10 months ago

I think Collins tries too hard and this gets him into trouble once in awhile. I also think these young players need rest. This is the first year that all except Collins have played competition in a long, intense season. Practice normally is in smaller spurts and despite what is often said not nearly as demanding as a regular game against a Division 1 opponents

JayhawkPhil64 10 years, 10 months ago

You guys are right, maybe this loss could be a blessing in disguise, giving them the rest they need to prepare for the NCAA tournament. I really don't care where they are seeded. This is a team that could beat or lose to anybody on any given night. I am thrilled with their overall accomplishment so far this season and this loss doesn't doesn't dimish that.

jayhawkinATL 10 years, 10 months ago

I'm definitely disappointed in our early exit, but I'm still VERY pleased with the way the season has turned out (considering the amount of firepower we lost). Let's make a respectable run in the NCAAs.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 10 months ago

Random Thoughts:

1] Could Cole's recent "slow down" be a function of going up against Withey every day in practice? Since he can't play now I am sure HCBS is using him against Cole. [ Yes, 100, you were right all along..2009-2010, THE TWIN TOWERS]. I love the guy, but the talent level between Matt K and Jeff W is a quantum leap and maybe Cole is leaving a little of it on the practice floor.

2] It appears Reed and Morningstar have hit a wall based on increased playing time. Next year with Robinson, Withey and Johnson, I think less playing time will help keep them stronger and more capable in what may turn out to be specialized fill-in and provide Offensive and Defensive spark roles.

3] KU's streak of no OAD's will continue as Wall and Stephenson go elsewhere.

4] Love him or hate him, the incredible amount of attention verifies Collins role on this team. In architecture we have a phrase " Less is More". Sherron may benefit from this concept by shooting less but involving his teammates more.

5] On pure analysis, no one on this team is NBA ready, however in the NBA Universe, logic do not apply. Both Cole and Sherron could go.....hope not, but it could happen.

6] In retrospect, the 2008-09 season may turn out to be one of the most interesting seasons in recent memory. So many twists and turns.....kind of like driving in the Alps vs going west on I-70 heading toward Denver. Both are trips but one is OOOOOOHHH so more interesting.!!!!!!!

I will bleed Crimson and Blue to the end...GO HAWKS!!!!!!

sugarlandtxjayhawk1963 10 years, 10 months ago

All of you who are members of the KU coaching staff, please raise your hand. Rockchalk007:"maybe overpreparation and overcoaching, trying too hard?" Are you for real? I guess personally, I will go with the plan of the coach of the defending National Champions. You know: Bill Self. But I am sure the posters here know better.

This team has no guards that are offensive threats that can create there own offense other than Collins. Taylor can drive the lane but is not really a threat. We have no real wing play at all unless it is a wide open shot. When the inside game dries up and Collins has a bad shooting night, they typically struggle. Losing to Baylor sucks. Tired or not tired, limited expectations or not, Self and his staff have a right to be ticked off at the lack of execution and effort in that game.

As much as anyone out there, I will root for KU to repeat this year. But I fail to see how losing two out of your last three games to teams that will not even make the big dance (unless Baylor wins the Big 12 Tourney) is a good thing. We are not peaking at the right time. Having said that, I trust Bill Self will get this team ready. Win or lose, we have the distinct pleasure of having the best coach in the country. The day Roy Boy left was very sad but in the end we got the better end of that deal. Self is a better coach, better leader and better recruiter - At NC Roy does not even have to recruit -- they are lined up. Hands down Self is the best coach out there. So, let's let him coach our program. Seems like he knows what he is doing. Or maybe that is just me ;)

OakvilleJhawk: Cole and Collins are not going anywhere. Neither of them are anywhere on any draft boards. Cole's stock has dropped like a stone. Collins is not a first round pick -- they will both stay and this team will be better for it.

KU will probably make the Sweet 16. That would be a terrific achievement for the season if it happens.

As for blessing in disguise: The only blessing we have is not an early exit or extra rest. It is Bill Self, plain and simple. We will win at least two in the tournament - unless Collins shoots 20 percent and takes at least 15 shoots. If that happens, we will go home early. Either way we have a great program with a great coach and we have already overachieved this season. Be happy for the banner we have hanging from last year and trust our team.

rockchalk007 10 years, 10 months ago

yes, coach self is one of the very best but anyone who has ever played sports knows what it is like to be tired mentally and physically, and just emotionally spent like our Hawks were at TT, and against Texas (home crowd provided the energy to overcome in the second half but obviously less energy and punch at the outset of that game),and now against Baylor for the third game in a row - and yes even the very best can overprepare and overcoach and work the boys too hard at the end of the year...maybe, just maybe they do not need more hours in the film room and on the court, maybe just maybe they need less preparation right now...and a mental break from it all to rest the body and mind - just a thoght from a fan

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

OakvilleJHawk,

Cole's slow down seems more foot-related than Withey related. He's not making many offensive moves, even when he gets the ball, and he's not shooting his j much at all. A j requires solid wheels. He's got a stress fracture of some kind, or a tendon problem, or both.

Given the teething problems Taylor has gone through this season, I would be very surprised if Elijah Johnson, who is not even a Mickey D grade recruit, is going to squeeze Morningstar into a sub. He could certainly eat into Reed's time, if he can play Selfdefense and shoot 40% from trey, but what if he turns out to be a guy like Travis Releford who needs a year of seasoning to sync mind with D1 speed and complexity?

The problem I see on the horizon if Sherron jumps, and we lose Stephenson, is: no ball handler to replace Sherron. Tyshawn played the two in high school and he's played the two in college for a reason. His dribbling is suspect. Could it get better? Yes. Could he handle the kind of pressure Sherron has had to handle? Very questionable. And Elijah is the same story. He played the two in high school. He's going to come in dribble-challenged just as Taylor did.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Ironically, Reed or Brady could easily wind up playing point next year, if Stephenson is a no show. If people don't like the TOs Collins makes this year, imagine how they will scream with Taylor and Elijah playing most of the season with 1:1 Assist to TO ratios. Reed and Brady are the only guys proven to be able to play with out a lot of TOs and to be able to pass reasonably well. Reed was a PG all through high school, so he has the dribbling and passing skills already. I doubted Brady could do it until I watched him against the press. He could do it, too. Reeds problem is that he will not be particularly quick with the ball, but since it turns out he is one of the fastest guys on the team end to end, he could play the point the way Hinrich did; that is, he could turn it into a speed position rather than a quick position. Hinrich has succeeded with this all the way to the L. Reed doesn't look as good as Hinrich, of course, but necessity can sometimes be the mother of invention. And Morningstar is clearly cat quick to go along with excellent hops. Frankly, if Stephenson doesn't show, and Sherron jumps, and Self decides to go big, the team could easily wind up looking like this:

5 Cole/Kieff 4 Withey/Robinson 3 Marcus/Little 2 Taylor/Elijah And drop rocks and grab socks... 1 Reed/Morningstar

I will just roll on the floor laughing my you know what off at fans if Self were to take the team in this direction. Why? Because this year everyone was bi!@#$ and moaning that this team could never be any good with Morningstar starting or Reed getting 20-25 mpg. This went on till 2/3s of the way through the season. Anytime there is a loss, it comes up again. But here we are with a conference champ with Brady starting and Reed getting 20-25 mpg.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

OMG! Imagine the threatened suicides by our more conventional fans, if Brady and Tyrell were splitting the PG. I can just hear them now:

"If these two are our point guards, this team will be in biiiiiiiiig trouble!"

"These two might play point guard for a short while, while the other guys develop, but no way will they play more than the month of November."

"Don't make me laugh! These guys might play point guard at mid-major, but not at the University of Kansas. No way!"

And so on.

But it makes perfect sense. If Cole and Withey play the 4 and 5, teams are going to have to give up the three point shot much of the time. Marcus is the second highest percentage trey shooter on the team this year (though he did very little of it) and he was an excellent trey shooter in high school. He would be an instant mismatch on offense every night when he was on. Basically, against most teams' 3 position guys, Marcus would have an uncontested look every time he touched the ball. And when Marcus had trouble containing a really active 3 on defense, Mario Little would come in and lock the road runner down, and still give us huge boarding and decent scoring out of the 3.

This scenario also plays into making the 2 position the traditional position for shake and bake. Taylor and Elijah splitting the two will mean that they don't have to run the team, or worry about distributing. They just go aerial all over the faces of the other team's two and play defense like crazy. They don't even have to be great shooters. 38-39%, which looks like just about tops for Taylor, is plenty good if they could kick back to two 40% plus trey shooters in (any two of Tyrell, Brady, or Marcus).

Confront full court pressure? Simple. Out goes Marcus and incomes Elijah, or whomever is is on the bench of the Tyrell/Brady combo.

Such a team would play much more half court basketball, would it not? But on the other hand Withey and Marcus can run the floor very well for big men.

Oh the possibilities next year if Cole were to stay. But if Cole jumps, then it will once again be a conventional four big man rotation with 4 at the 1, 2 and 3.

FairgroveJayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

"OMG! Imagine the threatened suicides by our more conventional fans, if Brady and Tyrell were splitting the PG. I can just hear them now:"

hate to plagiarizebut but that is so accurate.

oakville- i can't see how this season won't be one of the most memorable. A young team that has made many gains as the season has come along. they have gained in leaps and bounds and if they could only have a few games back... i hope the conventional fans remember (this year or next), when they priase those whom they have scorned. I'm one of them of course, but i will remember and post accordingly.

Just saw Baylor beat Texas. What a day. We may actually get 5 or 6 teams in if an underdog wins, my bad, missouri is not an underdog this year. Good for the big 12.

go Hawks.

actorman 10 years, 10 months ago

Guys, be careful when posting anything that's the least bit critical of Coach Self, because according to sugarland, if you haven't been a coach you should never be allowed to say anything negative about HCBS. In fact, I propose a new Kansas state law: unless you can provide evidence that you have been a coach for at least the high-school level, you should not be allowed to ever criticize any coach anywhere. I'm sure that sugarland would be happy to enforce that law.

Trey Hohman 10 years, 10 months ago

Some of the people writing on this particular blog, (some, not all) sound a bit like the Republican Party in airing their fears concerning the state of our team. If we can't agree "policy", (tactical offensive & defensive schemes) then go straight into arguing the "process" (who played more minutes & who shot more times & who didn't get the ball enough) & if you cannot win on process, then simply argue on "personality", (who acts like a selfish idiot on the court without any thoughts for fellow teammates, or why aren't certain highschool players coming to KU next year or why are certain players on this current team going to jump to the L. etc)....It's usually one of these three fall-back traits when there are no simple answers to these complicated inhibitors of chance, ie. NCAA Tourney & a young talented team..

All I can say is in Bill I trust. Yes, the more intelligent & honest hybrid-human of Jim Cramer in all of College basketball...Bill will have them ready to tear the meat off the withering bones of our foes come next week because he is ultimately a ruthless assassin of winning games on stages of ultimatums... Something Roy Gosh Ol' Williams, (or 97% of all other coaches in college basketball) for all his/their charms & abilities, will never possess concerning those remarkable keys to the assassination kingdom...Self would realistically tear off his own hind-leg & become a hobbling jackal for the rest of his time on earth to make a bargain with the devil, and for at least two games, to get this squad of neurotic rascals to play and win like defending champs in this masochistic debauchery called the NCAA tourney, because he is simply the ultimate crazed lunatic gospell Jesus in the destroying & conquering of all things involving a hardwood and a hoops basket....

Bold prediction but ultimately true: North Carolina will lose to either a Pac-10 team (Arizona St) or some random Big East team like Syracuse in Elite 8 because Roy is not an assassin.

KU beats Memphis is Elite 8. -- Then KU plays Pitt and loses by 1 pt. in triple over-time due to Cole breaking his ankle on a flagrant foul by thug #8...Self will then refuse to shake hands with Pitt's head coach and go on a 3 week fast in protest of the loss, and all this will cause a change of heart for both Wall & Stephenson who ultimately both become Jayhawks....

PS...I think Elijah Johnson is much stronger than Releford he can absolutely play the 1 if Sherron leaves, & so can Morningstar, Reed & Taylor for quick stints...Get the ball to Cole!!!!

Trey Hohman 10 years, 10 months ago

Bill Self's coaching staff is very similar to Tiger Woods in a certain respect and here it is...Pls. ask yourself this hypothetical:

If we lived a parallel futuristic galaxy where athletes were not humans but instead digitized robots and before play began in the NCAA, and there was a collegiate mandate to program all players to equal optimum playing levels, leaving the coaches to become the only human-element in creating suspense and indecision regarding the outcome of all games played,,,,who would you take as a coaching staff? -- Coach Self's staff, or the rest of the field?

I would take Coach Self & Co. personally (because we won't have to play against Boeheim or Calhoun in the first 2 rounds, most likely) & in my humble estimation, my theoretical has got to be worth at least two wins this year...?

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