Monday, January 3, 2011

Miami (Ohio) RedHawks say KU basketball team better than Duke

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor tangles with Miami (Ohio) University guard Orlando Williams as he drives to the bucket during the first half, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor tangles with Miami (Ohio) University guard Orlando Williams as he drives to the bucket during the first half, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 83-56 victory over Miami (Ohio) on Jan. 2, 2011.

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Bill Self post-game press conference: Miami (Ohio)

Bill Self addresses the media following the Jayhawks' victory against Miami (Ohio).

Few college basketball teams have the luxury — if that’s what you want to call it — of facing the three highest-ranked teams in the nation by the first week of January.

Miami (Ohio), which Kansas University defeated, 83-56, on Sunday at Allen Fieldhouse, is one such team.

Miami coach Charlie Coles was more than happy to compare the Jayhawks to No. 1 Duke and No. 2 Ohio State.

“I don’t know if Kansas is the best,” Coles said. “But I don’t know if anybody’s better.”

Coles was animated during his postgame briefing, but more in the sense of an uncle telling stories around a campfire and less like a coach disappointed with his team’s play.

“Forgive me coach K, forgive me coach K,” said Coles, his voice elevating in volume with each word as he begged forgiveness from Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. “With (Duke freshman) Kyrie Irving out of there, it’d be hard for me to pick a No. 1. When he was playing with them, I thought, ‘This is a clear No. 1.’ It’s all even now.”

A couple of Coles’ players also chimed in, and they were more willing to give Kansas the edge.

“I didn’t play at Duke,” said senior Antonio Ballard, who finished with five points and four rebounds. “I was out for that game. But I did play against Ohio State. I think KU is better than them. Just from watching Duke, in my opinion, I feel that KU is on top right now.”

Added sophomore Orlando Williams (11 points): “Individually, KU has (Duke) beat. But coaching-wise, Mike Krzyzewski’s got years under his belt and is a good leader. I’m not saying that KU’s coach is a bad coach, because he is a really good coach.”

That showed Sunday during the final 10 minutes of the first half. With KU and Miami feeling each other out for the first several minutes, KU blew the game open midway through the half by turning a 19-11 lead into a 33-11 cushion in a little more than two minutes.

The big blow during that stretch was an uncontested, two-on-none alley-oop off the backboard from KU’s Travis Releford to Elijah Johnson.

“I was very disappointed with our effort in the first half,” Coles said. “I don’t think Kansas really got going until there was about nine minutes to go in the first half. After that, it seemed like we backed off of them. I thought we would play better. I really did.”

After the showtime slam dunk, Coles immediately called timeout and pleaded with his team to bring better focus.

The RedHawks did, eventually, as KU won the second half by just a point.

But it was too little, too late.

“In the second half, I think we did play better,” Coles said. “But, if you’re not the lead dog, the scenery never changes because you’re looking at people’s behinds. And we did a lot of looking at Kansas’ behinds.”


HawkBBall 3 years, 3 months ago

It was fun to watch the dunk fest. But, this team will not beat Duke or Ohio State by playing this kind of poor defense.


KU_FanSince75 3 years, 3 months ago

Jaybate and Chuckberry----great posts!

I kind of agree with you Chuck, in regard to the polls. From the fan's perspective, it's fun to speculate.

And-------coach Coles, you seem like a nice guy----I appreciate the nice complements, but I would rather play Ohio State and/or Duke on the court and prove to the Nation that the Jayhawks are the best!!!!! Rock Chalk, baby!


lee3022 3 years, 3 months ago

Some interesting thoughts on comparisons. Not to disagree with any of them, here is the my own thought on comparisons:

Each team has only one opponent each year. That opponent is itself. The challenge is to play to the ultimate capacity of its talent and will. That indicates to me the idea of comparing to other teams is contra-productive for the team (not for the fans).

If the team performs to its capacity and loses it deserves to lose and can be satisfied with the journey with no regrets. If the team performs to less than its capacity and loses it deserves to lose as well but will long afterwards regret. If the team performs to less than its capacity and wins it can celebrate but always will wonder if it really deserved to win. If a team performs to its capacity and wins it can exalt in having competed with itself and won and deserves the accolades it receives.

That said, the fan in me every year hopes that capacity (for their age and experience) is reached and is enough to carry home the prizes.

One clear weakness in this team has been exposed by over-sized interior players. They have not yet developed the toughness and body strength to compete with such players - I am thinking of those few over 270 pounds. I do think they are perhaps the best collective perimeter-defending teams KU has had. But they must collect the rebounds as well to finish the stops. Against smaller players they do. Against the big guys they seem to get pushed out. I am sure there are more areas to be improved.


Ralster Jayhawk 3 years, 3 months ago

Case in point: Current tribulations of the 'Hawks regarding "soft", or "rebounding woes", FT shooting lack of focus, and throwing elbows/game suspension--all are great fodder for coach to expound on as these kids search for self-mastery. Not only Marcus Morris, but by watching him go through that maturation also his teammates benefitted (and sounds like they all sufferred collaterally, too in practice...). Golden question is will this squad have enough self-mastery/discipline to shine THIS conference&postseason?


kranny 3 years, 3 months ago

Jaybate, I understand and agree partially. I feel that Coach Self would be given the thumbs up by any jury of his peers as far as teaching team self-mastery. His teams’ accomplishments speak for themselves with the Big 12 championships, national champs and some deep runs in the tournament. If you are going to make comparisons, coach Wooden had the luxury of keeping most if not all of his players for all 4 years during his championship runs. Going to the NBA early was not typical of underclassmen. Team self mastery is much easier when you keep your team together and chemistry remains constant. Many other coaches had the same luxuries. Think how KU would have done if Arthur, Chalmers, and Rush would’ve returned after “08 and still the ’09 team went to the sweet 16. I don’t’ know how you judge team self-mastery. Is it multiple National championships? But to lose five starters in ’08 and 3 players from last year’s team to the NBA and still be conference champs and make a Sweet 16 in the tourney is simply awesome and a pretty good indication of a team that is consciously aware of the concept of self-mastery.


kranny 3 years, 3 months ago

I agree with Chuckberry. Being a bit superstitious about these things, I hate comparisons like this at this time of year. Prove it on the court.


jaybate 3 years, 3 months ago

And the jury is out on Bill Self, much as I respect him and believe in his ability to learn the ultimate secret of basketball coaching--how to teach a team to master itself.

Great coaches regularly ask players to walk down a path that costs not less than everything to become the best that they can be.

But only a few coaches can so master themselves that they first ask themselves to walk down a coaching path that costs not less than everything, so that when they ask not less than everything from their players, they do so with the most secret knowledge of all--the knowledge of how to make groups of persons called teams master themselves, so they can be the masters of other teams.

Mastery of technique is always the litmus test of commitment to excellence.

Mastery of self is always the litmus test of wizardry.

And there are wizards.

Bill Self took a huge step toward self mastery, when he fought through all his learned behaviors and every thing he has ever believed in before and faced the truth about this team: it is going to be an up and down team. He is not going to fight that. He is going to take what he has been given and make the best of it, not make the ultimate mistake of coaching--trying to make his team something it is not. This team can never have the maturity of experience of the 2008 ring team. It seems unlikely to have three NBA draft choices this season. But it could possibly master itself...if it had a coach that had mastered himself and perhaps now understood how to teach a team to master itself.

As usual, passage to wizardry will cost not less than everything.

Rock Chalk, Coach Self!


jaybate 3 years, 3 months ago

As great of a coach as I think Bill Self is right now, the jury remains out on whether or not he learned in 2008 how to make a team master itself, or whether his 2008 team learned to master itself on its own, because it stayed together so long.

Rings are won by many teams without the coach knowing how to make a team master itself. Such team's discover it on their own.

But there are some coaches that learn how to teach self mastery to teams.

Wooden learned. The way we know this is that he always won a ring when he had the talent needed to win one. People forget that in his run of 10 rings in 11 years, the year he did not win the ring, he truly did not have nearly as good of talent as the team that won it all.

Knight learned. He had the talent to win a ring four times and he won four rings.

Coach Consonants, though I despise the very ground he walks on for taking basketball into the XTReme Cheap Shotting era last April, has learned. Since he has learned, and had the talent to get it done, his teams have gotten it done.

Dean obviously never learned. He failed many times with the most talent, even after one of his teams mastered itself in spite of him.

Roy was a slow learner, having squandered at least three teams with the most talent in the country, but he appeared finally to learn with that second ring team at Baja KU. The self mastery of the first one seemed mostly self taught. Roy;'s second ring team seemed to have learned from him, but it may also have been self-taught by the horrible series of failures with a stacked deck in Hansbrough's previous seasons. So: the jury is still out on Roy. Why? Because he is squandering talent again.


jaybate 3 years, 3 months ago

It is always best for a coach to talk truth to a team. To give his team an honest assessment of what they face and who can beat them. If his team is the best team and he does not tell them, then his team will not be preparing for the true problem--the ultimate problem--the problem that underlies all human endeavor--the struggle for self mastery. The team that fails to become the best that it can be has failed at self mastery. Teams that fail to become their own masters always succumb to an Achilles Heel--the deep, abiding doubt of a team that knows if it could not master itself, that could not become the best that it could be; and so cannot defeat another team that has.

If one cannot master one's self, how can one keep believing against all adversity in one's ability to master another.

The path to self mastery is harrowing.

The path to mastering others is harrowing.

No one, no team, that has not mastered itself can master another.

But each person, each team, that masters itself can, if it has sufficient talent, will master the other individual and team.

There is no question in my mind that this KU team is better than Duke now; that is a moot point to me.

The question is: can this team in one season, with so many players that still do not know how to get it done, when all the chips are down and everything is going wrong, become the master of itself and get it done.

I was not there for the 52 Champion.

But I was there for the '88 and '08 NCAA champions.

And I vividly recall each of the ten NCAA rings and the '76 Indiana ring, and Roy's ring teams.

Self mastery, not talent, or luck, or a fortunate series of match-ups, is what ultimately decides champions.

Look at last year's KU team, which was at the very least one of the three best teams in the country, and I would argue the best. It did everything but master itself. There was a dynamic in that team that prevented it from being the best that it could be. It had problems, but most champions overcome such problems. Last year's team got too focused on winning to ever master itself. Self could never figure out how to make the team master itself. He tried and tried, but ultimately he could not understand his own team well enough to help it find the way to master itself.


Ben Kane 3 years, 3 months ago

you guys crack me up some times. comparing us to duke or anyone else right now is an exercise in meaninglessness. let's worry about what we can control and that is our own schedule. if we meet them on the floor in the tournament then so be it. In the meantime if we want to cut some nets down later we need to focus now on constantly improving.


jayhawkinnebr 3 years, 3 months ago

KU play really good last night. I have to mension also that it was Miami of Ohio. Not to put them down but, the talent level is quite different and also at the Phog made a big difference. I am not ready to put the #3 stamp on them just yet, I really did like the improvement in the free throws and rebounding. The offense looks to be getting better, I like to see Withey and Releford out there getting mins. We could do a little more of not seeing Brady out there, as things just seem to go haywire. He turns the ball over to much and doesn't work with the rest of the team. He needs more Pine Time. Johnson needs more time on the floor also, which he has shown improvement. I wonder that the status of Little is going to be, and if there is any chance of him coming back. He sure could make a difference in the team, coming in off the bench.


William Blake 3 years, 3 months ago

Let's save the pats on the back for the end of March... and until then, let's work hard at playing better basketball. We only have to go back one year to see where all the in-season accolades gets us. And you can go back in KU history and see what it has done for us, especially in the big tourney. 2008 and 1998 involved teams that lost games and always had to prove themselves.

Same with individual accolades. Two summers ago TT played Int'l ball and got a big head and came back for a horrible basketball year at KU. Last year, Sherron and Cole received All-American praise and neither had their best year. And now this year, Marcus played summer clinics and came back an All-American and now has motivational problems.

I really thought the twins learned this lesson after losing in the big tourney last year but I'm not certain anymore.


AirCapJay 3 years, 3 months ago

I watched Duke dismantle Miami (of Miami) after the KU-Miami (of Ohio) game. Duke is better. Duke plays like a pro team. KU can get there but needs to start taking the game more serious. We have the athletes to do it.


Steve Gantz 3 years, 3 months ago

If we'd played some top 10 competition this year we'd know better how we stack up with the Dukes and Ohio States.


Ken Sedgwick 3 years, 3 months ago

Right now games against OSU and Duke would boil down to shooting matches. Whoever had the best shooting night would win. KU has no post defence, however I believe we can score on anyone.


dnvrhawk 3 years, 3 months ago

KUs' bench is much deeper than Dukes'. Ratface plays a 7 man rotation, with Singler and Smith playing basically the entire game. Getting deeper into the season, I think this is going to catch up with them. The ACC is weak this year, which will work to their advantage, but if Smith or Singler ever get into foul trouble, or get injured, Duke is going to go down.


Clarence Haynes 3 years, 3 months ago

A lot of diplomacy coming from Miami Ohio coach and players! Would love to see Duke and Ohio St with us in the Final 4!


Clarence Haynes 3 years, 3 months ago

A lot of diplomacy coming from Miami Ohio coach and players! Would love to see Duke and Ohio St with us in the Final 4!


jhwkfan162515 3 years, 3 months ago

“But, if you’re not the lead dog, the scenery never changes because you’re looking at people’s behinds. And we did a lot of looking at Kansas’ behinds.”





741hawk 3 years, 3 months ago

Question for those who know or those who want to speculate:

HCBS does not come out for warm-ups. The team comes back out at 3:00 'til game time. The assistant coaches come out at 2:00 'til game time. Self makes his appearance at 1:45.

What's Bill doin' in the locker room all that time? Fixin' his hair? Reading the Wall Street Journal? What's up?


jhox 3 years, 3 months ago

I would give Duke the edge, from what I've seen of them. They play defense the way it is supposed to be played, with every pass being contested, all game long. Last year we were the better team, but we just caught the wrong team on the wrong day in the tourney.

Until we learn to play better defensively, especially on the interior, we're not ready to be compared to Duke. We're athletic enough that, by seasons end, we may be good enough to compete with them, but we're not there yet. They're finely tuned and we're a work in progress.


Alohahawk 3 years, 3 months ago

Nice praise from the opposition, especially since they have played each of the top three ranked teams and five of the seven unbeatens at this stage of the season. Now, the Hawks just have to keep focused and not let such accolades go to their heads.

While it was a great first half, the defense was more like a sieve in the second. The margin of victory should have been much larger. Or at least, the Hawks should have held them to 45 points or less. That was my hope all along. Dang!! Hawk fans are never satisfied. RCJH


jaybate 3 years, 3 months ago

Of course KU is better than Duke.

KU was better than Duke when Duke had Kyrie and KU did not have Selby.

KU got much better than Duke when Kyrie went out with injury.

Now, with Selby, KU would kick Duke's butt out the front doors of AFH, or beat them soundly in Cameron Indolent Events Center.

KU has a lot of problems, but Duke is not one of them.

And if Duke were not being allowed to cheap shot with impunity, Duke would would already have lost a quarter of its games.

Ohio State could be very tough for KU.




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