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Monday, March 28, 2011

Keegan

On this day, VCU just better

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KU vs. VCU

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Kansas fell to Virginia Commonwealth in an Elite Eight matchup Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 71-61 loss to VCU on March 27, 2011.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU senior guards Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar

KU senior guards Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar talk to reporters following VCU's 71-61 victory over Kansas on March 27, 2011.

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— For the Kansas University basketball team, Selection Sunday had so little sizzle and absolutely no suspense. On a more eventful day, a statement uttered by KU coach Bill Self might have been swallowed in all the March madness buzz, but it hung in the air. It felt as if he knew what he was saying.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if a team that barely got in is in the Sweet 16 or even further down the road,” Self said. “I think anybody can be had. All you’ve got to do is get hot at the right time.”

He called it. He never wanted to be more wrong about anything in his entire life. The college basketball landscape has changed, with the rich getting slightly poorer, the poor slightly richer. Self knows all about parity, but that didn’t make losing to Virginia Commonwealth University, 71-61, hurt any less Sunday in the Alamodome for the coach or his players.

So much for “the bracket opening up.” That doesn’t apply in these times. There are reasons schools from big conferences shy away from scheduling the best teams from the so-called “mid-major” leagues, and one of them is they don’t want to lose.

Consequently, it’s difficult to tell how good those schools really are. VCU didn’t look so hot Friday night in sneaking past Florida State, and on Sunday looked like it had the rest of the tournament: efficient, smart, quick at both ends and blessed with hot shooting hands.

VCU was the story on Selection Sunday, when ESPN’s Jay Bilas blasted the committee for including the Rams, and nobody could deliver a decent counter-punch to Bilas until the Rams started playing. Five victories against schools from the Pac-10, Big East, Big Ten, ACC and Big 12 later, VCU joins a Final Four that doesn’t include any No. 1 or No. 2 seeds.

“I got a picture sent to me where you can’t walk anywhere on Broad Street (in Richmond) right now,” Rams point guard Joey Rodriguez said.

That was supposed to be Mass Street in Lawrence.

The reason Mass Street didn’t rock with euphoria: VCU was the better team and advances to Houston for a matchup against Butler, which is making its second consecutive trip to the Final Four.

This outcome didn’t feel like an upset the same way the Northern Iowa flop did. It felt more like the 2003 title matchup against Syracuse, when the Orange caught fire from long range in the first half, and KU didn’t make its free throws. VCU played Syracuse, and Kansas played Kansas.

The horrific numbers: The Jayhawks shot 35.5 percent overall and 9.5 percent (2-for-21) on three-pointers, both their worst figures during a two-year run in which they went 68-6. They shot .536 from the free-throw line.

VCU made 48 percent of its three-pointers, including nine of 17 in the first half. When somebody suggested the Rams made everything they threw up, KU freshman guard Josh Selby countered graciously.

“They weren’t throwing up those shots,” Selby said. “They were shooting those shots. They didn’t even touch the rim. You have to give them credit. They outplayed us today. They were the better team.”

It’s too convenient to say Kansas just had one of those days when its shots didn’t drop. Was it bad offense or good defense?

“I take all the credit for that, to tell you the truth,” Rodriguez said, meaning VCU’s defense. “I think we wore them out. We came right at them. If you go back and watch the game, I think every time they shot the ball, somebody had a hand in their face.”

VCU coach Shaka “Aptly Named” Smart did a nice job of summarizing how the Rams’ defense contributed to KU’s poor shooting.

“Joey said it had everything to do with what we did,” Smart said. “That’s impossible to tell. But I’ll tell you this, that game was all about style of play. We got the style going the way we wanted in the first half. And if you watch closely, their players were tugging on their shorts for much of the game. When you don’t have your legs, it’s hard to make outside shots.”

KU’s bench played 32 minutes and scored just three points. Each of the five starters played at least 32 minutes.

VCU plays a similar style to Missouri’s, but plays it better, with better players.

“That’s why we play the way we play,” Smart said. “That’s part of our havoc style is getting people winded, getting people fatigued.”

Exhaustion can lead to mental mistakes, and KU’s defenders had plenty, veering from the scouting report and too often leaving shooters to help on the man driving.

VCU scored 30 more points than Kansas from beyond the three-point arc, but the three isn’t the game’s lone equalizer.

“I think over the last 10 or 15 years in college basketball, the playing field has evened out a little bit,” Smart said. “When you have a senior-laden team like we do, you have an opportunity to go make a run like this, because we have as much experience as anybody we’re going to play.”

Mix in the extra “nobody respects us” fuel, and look what happened.

“We weren’t 35-2 coming into this game, but we’re playing our best basketball when it matters most, and that’s why I’m sitting up here right now with a net around my neck,” Smart said.

Kansas had been playing its best basketball when it mattered most until Sunday, when it did far less than that, and that’s why Self, 1-6 in Elite Eight games and 2-0 in the 2008 Final Four and coach of seven consecutive Big 12 title teams, and his players headed home Sunday on what must have been a silent flight.

Comments

VCUFTW 9 years, 8 months ago

On EVERY day, VCU is better. Eat it.

Hank Cross 9 years, 8 months ago

Where were you last week? We had a classy Richmond fan who came in here and was treated with respect. Didn't see you in here. BTW obviously you're new to going to the FF, it is usually customary to be celebrating your team's trip to the FF instead of coming in here with weak smack. Enjoy your run and say bye to Shaka.

And next time we face each other, the KU men in blue will torch Richmond just like the Union army.

Doug LeMoine 9 years, 8 months ago

Dude, seriously. This is your big moment. Enjoy it. You're choosing to spend your big moment here taunting us instead of celebrating with the other (I'm sure more gracious) VCU fans. And you're wasting your time trying to start s***. Go celebrate. Your team won. They played great. Kick Butler's butts, and be happy. Run along.

langes0910 9 years, 8 months ago

You guys won the big one tonight. But I can assure you that if we play your crappy team 100 times, we will likely win more than 90 times with bad blow outs. Eat that. Your coach sounds increasingly arrogant too.

Hank Cross 9 years, 8 months ago

The "On any given Sunday...." attitude is a sure fire ticket to mediocrity. KU is an elite program. Elite programs do not write off losses like this and say 'sometimes your the windshield and sometimes you're the bug.' Here's a thought experiment, subsitute NY Yankees for KU, do you think Steinbrenner would ever say, "That's OK, at least we won the AL East"? Or for those of you who are parents, is it OK for your child whom you know to be capable of an A to come home with a C-?

Self is highly paid professional. He has a team of at least 5 NBA prospects, the best fanbase in college sports, a legendary program, the most storied arena in CBB. For $3 Million a year, losing like this is EPIC FAIL.

murph 9 years, 8 months ago

Ox, we already knew you're a moron. Why do you feel you need to keep proving it to us?

And FYI - the season we (or at least most of us) just enjoyed doesn't begin to fit the definition of "mediocrity".

WilburNether 9 years, 8 months ago

Spoken like a true idiot fanboi in denial.

Matt Kenton 9 years, 8 months ago

Dead on, Ox. Murph, he didn't say the season was mediocre, but that the attitude of viewing underachievement in the tournament as acceptable can lead to mediocrity. Though Kansas will never be mediocre, that 1-6 record in the Elite 8 speaks for itself. And that's one Davidson 3 pointer away from being 0-7, and zero trips to the Final Four.

Jacobpaul81 9 years, 8 months ago

There are a sum total of 72 titles available at this point in history. 72! To win 3 in that time frame is astounding, but to expect a coach to win even one is ridiculous, and to base your measure of a coach on a Title, is insane. Eddie Sutton, Gene Kaedy, Ralph Miller, Norm Stewart, Billy Tubbs. None have an NCAA Title to their name. Hell, Miller only made the Elite 8 twice and never made a Final Four. But they are all Hall of Famers or future Hall of Famers.

The title is not about how good a team you have. Clearly Kansas and Ohio State were No.1 and No. 2 (who can say which) all season long and finished with the best record. In football, that would mean they would play each other for a National Title. But in basketball, we have a tourney, which doesn't necessary mean the best team wins. It means the team that can string the most victories together against stiff competition wins. It's unforgiving and unapologetic, fun to watch, an near impossible to succeed. To date, only 71 teams have succeded and only 35 schools. As a meter of success, that's worthless. Only 35 schools... out of 345 have won the title. Getting to the Elite Eight is a big deal.

Nick Cole 9 years, 8 months ago

"near impossible to succeed."

Really? I'm pretty sure someone does it every year.

I love my Hawks, and it was an awesome season. But when you come into the tourney like we did and blow through our first three games like we did, it makes getting blown out like we did a little disappointing (Is that enough "like we did's" for ya, haha). At Kansas, you can and should expect to compete for a national championship every year. That is part of what being a Jayhawk fan is, you expect greatness. Yesterday's game was not a display of greatness. Thus, to most fans, it is viewed as a disappointment. Getting to the Elite Eight is nice, but it doesn't seem so nice when you feel like you should have won the whole damn thing. 4.17% of the titles belong to Kansas. Duke, UNC, UK, and UCLA all have more and we as KU fans are just supposed to accept this? Get real dude. I enjoyed our season, but please KU, don't get blown out like this again. We seem to be the only major program with these "stunning" loses to mid majors on a regular basis. It sucks. Can't wait for Late Night 2011!

RCJH!!!

Dirk Medema 9 years, 8 months ago

"near impossible to succeed" and yet someone does it every year.

By your measure, the probability of success is less than a half percent (1/345). There aren't many things (outside of the lottery) where people bet those odds.

It's not about whether it is acceptable or not as much as a reality check relative to the people that are blaming individual players or calling for firing of Coach Self. It is a call for a reality check among the portion of the fan base that is somewhat delusional - "We (I) deserve better than this. I am important, and if you don't believe me I'll shout it louder and call you names to at least show that I am better than you."

Losing sucks, regardless of who you are losing to. Losing to Syracuse, Duke, UCLA, ... was no better or worse than losing to VCU. Either way it sucks, but infighting isn't winning and does nothing for producing winners.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 8 months ago

No, it's not a big deal. Why don't you go look at North Carolina's stats, or Kentucky's stats, on final fours reached when a number 1 seed.

Our percentage is pathetic.

And coach Self has taken teams that have been number 1 seeds two seasons in a row .. combined 68-5, and run them into the ground.

You can make all the excuses in the world, but all we had to do was beat an average VCU team, and Butler, and we're in the championship game.

Getting to the Elite 8 is not a big deal for a number 1 seed. You are dead wrong.

Alex Berger 9 years, 8 months ago

To blame this loss on the coach is asinine. Was it Self's fault we couldn't hit wide open three's or hit our free throws? The players played poorly and that's why we lost. Live with it. That's basketball.

KULA 9 years, 8 months ago

+1. People who are satisfied with making it to the elite eight should go to K State or Missouri. I'm a Jayhawk.

cklarock 9 years, 8 months ago

Absolutely incorrect. The NCAA Tournament is the most enjoyable sporting event in America, and it is the most fun to win, but it is a terrible metric for gauging a coach's ability.

Bill Self's winning % speaks for itself, as does his regular-season dominance of a very good league. Those are correct metrics for judging a coach.

Anyone dogging Coach for his tournament record are ignorant at best.

You want to know what "epic fail" looks like? Take a look at K-State's season this year.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 8 months ago

"Epic fail" = 68-5, two number one seeds, lose to mid-majors, no final fours.

KSU is a different type of program than we are. If you can't recognize that, you should wear the "ignorant" label.

Matt Kenton 9 years, 8 months ago

"very good league?" I am seriously beginning to question that. Perhaps that is why we have all these 1 seeds. Maybe that is why we get "upset" by lower seeds, we really aren't one of the top four teams in the county, and 11 seed VCU is a whole lot better than the 41st-44th best team.

And why is it ignorant to judge HCBS on his tournament record? I agree his season record speaks for itself, just like his tournament record does. He should be fully commended for 2008, but the rest is nothing but disappointment.

KULA 9 years, 8 months ago

The Big 12 is not a very good league. Really shouldn't even be considered a major league. Only one Final Four appearance in he last 7 years. Compare that with the Big East, Big Ten, ACC, SEC, and even the Pac10.

jayhawkinATL 9 years, 8 months ago

Again...Self can't make the shots, make the FTs, or play D for them!!!!!! Jesus!!!!!

Jack Wilson 9 years, 8 months ago

Well, then, he should get no credit for the victories, right?

Coach Self's approach to this season, to making his team tournament ready, and his failure to adjust during the game lost this game for us.

jayhawkinATL 9 years, 8 months ago

Even the players admitted to NOT FOLLOWING THE SCOUTING REPORT.

jayhawkinATL 9 years, 8 months ago

I'm not saying Bill is blameless in the matter, but, come on...you simply gotta perform!!! 0.095 from trey and < 50 percent from the line do not = winning.

Justin Anderson 9 years, 8 months ago

yankees play best of 7 moron, we play best of seven we win that game. bad anology, and some one just pulled up at the drive through lane so get back to work.

KU_alum_2001 9 years, 8 months ago

I have to agree with you, Oxcal. Look, I know a lot of KU fans will say "well there are 68 teams so..." or "on any given day..." or "Coach Self wasn't the one on the court throwing up airballs so..." but look, this is how it is. KU has had some stellar talent the past 7 years (12 McDonalds All-Americans AND the Morris Bros); we consistently rank in the Top 5 for a reason; we've won a share of 7 straight Big 12 titles; and yes, in a single-elimination tournament, anything can happen.

HOWEVER... I'd say being eliminated by the likes of Bucknell, Bradley, Northern Iowa, and VCU... and blowing that lead against Mich State in '09 is hard to justify when there's that much talent. The problem I have is that we're consistently being beat by inferior teams in March, which "might" imply that our teams simply aren't showing up. Now while a lot of that clearly falls on the players, if it's a mindset issue, then it also definitely falls on the coach.

Yes, Self won us a national title, something Roy didn't do. And yes, Roy lost to some horrific teams (UTEP, Rhode Island, Virginia) as well. However the recent consistency of our lack of success against teams that we are clearly superior to just makes one wonder what's going on in March once the pressure is on.

I don't expect KU to win a title every 10 years, but I do generally expect us to beat the teams that we're clearly superior than. Not always but most of the time. When you keep losing to the VCU's of the world rather than the Duke's or OSU's, you just have to wonder what is happening mentally with our teams.

Would I say this season has been an "epic failure"? Absolutely not. Epic failure is when we fail to make the tourney like UNC or Zona have experienced over the past few years. However would I say that losing to VCU in the Elite 8 when you're a #1 seed (and the only one remaining) after shooting 9% from the 3-point line is a big failure, yes.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 8 months ago

A big failure yes, and yet the fact that you say "AND the Morrii" underscores just how ignorant the rant some people post - not particularly you since your's is a fairly reasoned response.

You mention 12 McD's and yet this team has one. How many McD's are left in the tourney? Are all of them freshmen at UK? I don't think there are many in the tourney, so maybe that's not a good metric for success. There are a lot watching from home, and very few had as much success as our collection of non-McD's.

As disappointing as the loss is, I'd still rather get over it and celebrate the development of the team, and hopefully learn from the loss to improve for the future. We lost in the E-8 in '07 also, tho that was a little easier to blame on the committee that sent that #1 team to #2 UCLA's backyard. It sucks not to have someone else to blame.

KU_alum_2001 9 years, 8 months ago

I agree on the McD point. However I think we can agree that "most" of our McD players truly have been studs, with the possible exception of Padgett and Downs... and maybe Giddens. While using the McD reference is a simply and easy (and, yes, oftentimes unreliable) way to measure talent, the fact is that we've certainly had some d*mn good players the past 7 years under Self, so it just seems like there's something going on that has kept us from reaching more than one Final Four.

And who knows, perhaps it is simply some bad luck and "on any given day" and that we simply have too high of expectations but... I think we can also all agree that these Mid Majors continue to be a real thorn in the side of KU come March... for "some" reason.

Mike Putzier 9 years, 8 months ago

VCUFTW shows the class that most of their fans would probably prefer not be displayed, I am sure. Congrats on your first trip to the Final Four. Ours was in 1940.

Richmonder 9 years, 8 months ago

KUmikey,

Are you calling the VCU fan classless? Look in the mirror.

I'd like to thank the KU fan for being so arrogant. It makes the VCU victory that much sweeter.

I witnessed on plenty of occasions Friday night your fellow KU fans taunting VCU fans moments after their OT victory over FSU.

The nasty comments and "David and Goliath" barking directed at VCU fans were uncalled for.

Arrogance doesn't begin to describe the KU fan.

How does that piece of humble pie taste this morning?

Enjoy watching the Final Four!

Dave Cook 9 years, 8 months ago

your totally right, I'll take the shoe pie just like anyone, but also am hoping deep inside that butler sends you home this weekend before you get a taste of something that KU taste on a more regular schedule than VCU..that is VICTORY.... going in the final four will hurt a lot more than the elite 8 will... and next year with your seniors gone and a coach leaving more more pay to somewhere else, you'll never see the bracket again..but guess what? KU will make another visit to the tourney... :)

yes, bitter fan, no shame here.. :)

JayhawkBigXII 9 years, 8 months ago

Nice cut and paste job Mizzou boy. You pasted the same thing on all the other KUsports threads. BTW, better start looking for a coach.

Hank Cross 9 years, 8 months ago

There's a stench of Antler dung about VCUFTH. It may be one of them that has to live vicariously through a team wearing black and gold that actually made it to the FF.

Funhawk 9 years, 8 months ago

"All you’ve got to do is get hot at the right time.”

Boy, isn't that the truth. Look at the 1988 tournament. :)

P.S. If we lose a good part of our underclassmen to the NBA, and start out slow next year because of it ...... don't worry........ "All you’ve got to do is get hot at the right time.”

P. S. S. Hey sports editor! Now that our basketball season is over, write some funny columns! Life between basketball and football is the time to let it out, let it all hang out. We know we have a writer who can make people laugh! Need some humor to make us laugh again, like some where-are-they-now stories. Some day we will reminisce about the Morris twins and laugh, like they do. Your Ted Owens story was the best, by the way. Thanks.

BigPrune 9 years, 8 months ago

Self needs to get into his players' heads or better yet, have a media blackout where the players can't watch t.v. or read the internet or read a newspaper - too many articles about how great KU was and what an easy bracket we had to win it all went to their heads. These fantastic teams of his end up being over confident against mediocre teams and they end up losing in the tournament. It's one thing being over confident when we also have to beat the poor officiating in a big game.

Self needs to hire another team shrink or we will see this again and again.

David Robinett 9 years, 8 months ago

Since you mention "shrink"...

There is just some dynamic where the underdog has the psychological advantage. They have nothing to lose, and the superior team with high expectations has "everything to lose" (they begin to anticipate all the crap that will be posted here and elsewhere). Not an excuse for losing; it just is.

So it takes an exceptional MENTAL effort to stick with your game plan, and overcome the psychological disadvantage. Hate to say it, but Puke was able to do that for a stretch in the 90s/00's.

My biggest beef is WHY DO WE NEVER GUARD 3 POINT SHOOTERS!?

It seems to always be the way the underdog gains confidence, and can out-man the superior team -- and that momentum makes our - - -'s pucker. It was always the reason Roy's KU teams lost in the tourney (somebody help me list all the guards that killed us in the past... Cuonzo Martin, FaroukKUmanesh, etc).

IT IS NOT THAT HARD TO GUARD SHOOTERS BEYOND THE ARC, or at least make them take hard shots rather than wide open spot ups. Somebody please check the TIVO -- all the replays I saw showed their 3 pointers where wide open.

Why do coaches think it's better to collapse in the middle and leave guys OPEN from 3?? Especially when we've got trees ready to block the interior shots.

I thought Bill had it figured out when he said the gameplan against Richmond was no layups and no 3 pointers.

Frustrating.

David Robinett 9 years, 8 months ago

“We didn’t follow the scouting report like we should have in the first half. They got some open shots and knocked them down,” KU’s Taylor said of guarding the three.

Noted Tyrel Reed: “There were times we just didn’t play the scouting report. We gave open looks. They’re a great three-point shooting team, and you can’t let them get on a roll. We didn’t defend the three-point line like we should have. .... But it was a poor performance by us guarding the three. That was basically it.”

Added Markieff Morris: “We knew they wanted to shoot threes. We didn’t get out to stop them.”

Why no mid-first-half adjustment??????

Ty Mar 9 years, 8 months ago

+1

They don't follow the scouting reports and VCU goes off w/ 3pointers and no mid-first half adjustments lol.

"This is what you want.This is what you get". M.A.R.K 13

KULA 9 years, 8 months ago

Bill should definitely hire a shrink, but not necessarily for the team.

ajhk 9 years, 8 months ago

"It’s too convenient to say Kansas just had one of those days when its shots didn’t drop" Uhhh... go back and watch how many open looks and bunnies we missed Keegs. Also, that defense was so stifling it made us miss all those free throws right? or was missing free throws so called "bad offense?"

You sound like a guy who has never played. Not saying it's bad, it's just bad to sound like it.

Wanna see how good these teams really are? Have them play a five game series. Bet we get the next four.

It's just the way the tourney is. The winner of the tourney isn't the best team. It's the team that plays the best in the tournament.

Alex Berger 9 years, 8 months ago

+1 Not to mention it's the team that gets a little lucky that wins the tournament.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

VCU played the best it could.

KU played the worst it could.

KU lost by ten.

This defines just how incredibly much better KU is than VCU.

Same thing last season.

NIU played the best it could.

KU played the worst it could.

KU lost by 2.

KU does not have to worry about how parity.

KU does not have to worry about running into mid majors playing their best.

KU does not even have to worry about playing its best in the tournament.

KU has to worry about how to avoid playing its worst in the tournament.

KU played its worst game of the season this season and last season in the NCAA tournament.

The NCAA tournament is only six games.

KU played about 39 games each season.

The chances of KU playing its worst game of the season in the tournament are only about 1 in 6, or 17%.

KU has done this two years in a row.

In 2008, KU did not play its worst game in the tournament.

What Bill Self has to figure out is: what can he do to make sure KU does not play its worst game of the season in March Madness....that's all.

Bill Self has proven that he is very good at getting better, when he knows exactly what it is that he needs to get better at.

It is now very clear.

Your players cannot shoot ten percent from three. They cannot have a worst of season night.

If KU can even learn to shoot 20% from trey, they will never be upset as they were last year and this year.

The objective is clear. Learn how to make at least 20% from trey on your worst night in six games in March and April, rather than 10%.. Do everything else exactly the same, shoot 20% or better, and KU will not have upsets like the last two seasons.

Simple.

One more thing.

Clear out the side and post up your PG, whenever you have 3" or more in heiight

When you have a 6'4" PG and a 6'2" inch PG, and the opponent has a 5'10" PG, and if you are not hitting your treys, and the other team's fouling is not being called.

jaybate

RockCaCO3 9 years, 8 months ago

Jaybate, you're exactly right, it is very simple. Simple when you're sitting on your couch, with a beer, with your little laptop on your lap analyzing all the little stats and tidbits of wisdom you'll be able to spew.

What team do you coach?

Joe Joseph 9 years, 8 months ago

Agreed. All KU had to do was play average, or even slightly less than average to beat VCU and probably beat Butler.

KU was the only team that was going to stand in its way to Houston. And it did.

Richmonder 9 years, 8 months ago

jaybate....my man.

You can also say that the KU fans that attended the game Sunday were 100% arrogant. They were insufferable.

Must have been quite a long drive from Texas back to Kansas.

Enjoy watching the Final Four!

midhawktx 9 years, 8 months ago

You are doing the same thing. Keep it classy Richmond

KULA 9 years, 8 months ago

Yes, Bill was wise to hitch his wagon to Brady Morningstar.

cobweb 9 years, 8 months ago

So coach is a bum now? I guess coach K, Roy, Jamie Dixon, Motta, Donovan all suck too. Get a life people. You're pathetic.

David Leathers 9 years, 8 months ago

I agee 100%.

When we're winning, KU has the best fanbases in the country.

When we're losing, KU has one of the worst fanbases in the country.

Screw all you Bandwagon fans.

I bleed Red and Blue.

ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!

David Leathers 9 years, 8 months ago

Correction-

When we're winning, KU has the best FANBASE in the country.

Oops my bad.

Chris Kurtz 9 years, 8 months ago

I'm not sure that VCU played their best game. I think they only made 39% of their FGs, but a bunch happend to be 3s. I would say VCU didn't play that great, but KU played that bad. They also didn't score that many points if you think about how many of the 71 points were off free throws at the end of the game when KU was fouling on purpose.

One thing I noticed was KU went up 6 - 0 and they showed VCU coach Smart and he wasn't intimidated at all. Didn't even think about calling a timeout. VCU got a 7 point lead after a 3 pointer and Self called the panic timeout and that set the tone for the rest of the game.

KU reminded me of a bully this year and especially this game. I think a lot of teams see the Kansas on the jersey and are intimidated. VCU wasn't and when they puched the bully in the mouth KU didn't know what to do.

I know there has been talk about how KU players like to trash talk and all this, but I have been embarassed to watch this year as we racked up technical after technical. Most of them were completly uncalled for. It felt like we had Rasheed Wallace and Dennis Rodman on the team. I'd like to see how many techincals we had this year versus others.

Just let your play do the talking.

ajhk 9 years, 8 months ago

Disagree with your analysis. They shot 39% overall you say? They also shot 48% from three! Factor that in and they shot horrible from two. Why? because of the kansas defense. VCU also took about 25 threes and 28 twos. Why would a team shoot threes for half of their shots? Because they are outmatched and scared to go inside. VCU did have one of their best games in that they made almost half of their threes. No, they weren't able to drive, post up or do anything very good besides nail tons of lucky threes, but hey, that's all it takes when the other team shoots 9.5% from there. The trash talk had nothing to do with this.

Chris Kurtz 9 years, 8 months ago

VCU played their best game and was out rebounded by 10? They played their best bame and had double digit turnovers? They played their best game and gave up an 18 point lead to a team playing that bad? There is more to a complete or best game than making some three pointers. VCU hardly played their best game at all.

My comments about the trash talking was just that I don't like it because it doesn't help you win. More so all the technicals they got that were classless during the year made it hard to watch. It was trashy seeing players throw elbows and bump guys and get in to it all the time instead of being focused.

ajhk 9 years, 8 months ago

kickazzkurtz- since you asked for it below-

"There is more to a complete or best game than making some three pointers"

Why so contradictory?

The only way KU played bad was the shooting percentage from three and the free throws.
You stated that three point shooting isn't the only part of the game (agree) but in doing so you contradict yourself when you say KU played “that bad.” As you said, KU out-rebounded them, they also played great two point defense (32%), had more steals, more blocks, shot way better from the two (49%), and had nearly the same amount of turnovers and fouls.

So make up your mind. If you want to stick with "KU played that bad" because they shot terrible from three then you can't turn around and state that there is much more to the game than three point shooting!

Pick one dude.

I have no idea how VCU played all year and I don't care. I didn't say they played a complete game- exactly the opposite. They were outmatched in all other areas, but, I'll bet they shot one of their best 3 point games of the season. Unfortunately, that is all that's needed. The ONLY reason VCU won is the 3 point line.

Here is what I was pointing out: you stated VCU didn't do anything great, the reason we lost is because KU played bad. Not true, though VCU was mediocre in all other areas, they shot the lights out of the three. I'll be willing to bet it's one of their best 3 nights of the year. It certainly was for Skeen. They were outmatched and had only one hope- to drain a bunch of threes, and did. That was the absolute best they could hope for. So, relative to the competition, it WAS a great game for them. KU certainly didn't perform well, they shot horribly from the three and free throw line. Leaving all other stats the same, if KU took half of their three point shots (11) from two and made them at the same rate they did all game (49%), this game has a different ending.

Next

VCU shot 39%- Not good enough They Shot 49% from three and nearly half of their tries were from the three. From two, they were stifled.

VCU didn't do anything great or out of the ordinary- NO 12-25 from three is exactly that.

KU just played that bad- NO See above

VCU just happened to shoot some threes- NO They intentionally took many threes because it was their only hope

“VCU didn’t score that many points”- This means absolutely nothing.

Things you notice- normal people call that obvious

Your hang up with intimidation- has little to do with the game

The players embarrassed you- NO You are embarrassing yourself.

"Just let your play do the talking" Ending this retarded rant with a weak cliche makes this much harder to stomach than those technical fouls.

Rock Chalk

cobweb 9 years, 8 months ago

Don't shoot 10% on threes. Duh! Genius! They had learned it better than most in the country, until Sunday. Highly improbable stuff happens. The Mizzou job is still open jaybate. Impart some of that wisdom on them.

KULA 9 years, 8 months ago

Bill Self's coaching system failed in the tourney again. Keep doing the same thing. Maybe it'll turn out differently next time.

KULA 9 years, 8 months ago

Which winning percentage is that? Regular season or NCAA tourney against mid majors?

jayhawkinATL 9 years, 8 months ago

Self can't make the shots, make the FTs, or play D for them!!!!!!!!

1957 9 years, 8 months ago

"On this day, VCU just better" - Is this all there is to it? Is the tournament so random that talent does not matter? This VCU team finished 4th in the Colonial league. It lost to the likes of Old Dominion, Northeastern, Richmond, UAB, George Mason, James Madison, Drexel and others yet "On this day, VCU just better", if this is true than no one is better than anyone ever. It means nothing then to win the Big 12 title and tournament. It means nothing to go 32-2 against the likes of Arizona, Memphis, USC, UCLA, Texas, Texas AM and K-State.

If it is true that "On this day, VCU just better" than nothing about the whole season counts, not the talent of our players, skill of the coaches, quality of the facilities, etc. It is all an illusion if VCU can be "just better".

The fact is VCU is in no way shape or form "better" on any day than Kansas. They just ended up with more points at the end of the game. That is completely and TOTALLY on Kansas.

Maybe I can write a sports column and on that day "just be better" than Keegan.

RockCaCO3 9 years, 8 months ago

One loss doesn't define a season.

And yes, yesterday VCU was better than KU. Maybe the other 364 days KU would be better that VCU, but yesterday VCU was better than KU.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 8 months ago

I don't agree RockCaCO3...people will remember going out in the Elite 8 to VCU more than anything else this season. I think that sucks because of all this team achieved..but I think its true.

blackhawkjayhawk 9 years, 8 months ago

1-6 in Elite games is not a good record. I love what Self has accomplished at KU, but we all need to be fair in judging his record. Losing to VCU is a bad loss - admit it, learn from it, get better from it and move on.

I bet we set an all-time KU record for air balls.

I wonder if Xavier and his 14 min. per game and 4.3 pts per game wishes he would have taken another path? Add back a dominant offensive threat, and we win the game. Wouldn't that be better than a completely forgettable year in the NBA?

Overall, though, another great year from the Hawks.

vd 9 years, 8 months ago

How did we win a NC if we only have 1 win in elite games? Now I understand. Elite games are determined by blackhawk. If we lose it's an elite game, if we win it's not.

Jared Grillot 9 years, 8 months ago

Likely this was meant as "Elite 8 games", of which Self, in his entire career, has won exactly 1.

John Randall 9 years, 8 months ago

I guess those questions should be addressed to Zavvyair's dad and financial advisor.

Ty Mar 9 years, 8 months ago

lol@ climate change. It's called sun spots and solar flares. But I guess we can just blame humans and tax the &*%! out of them and help Al gore buy another mansion.

back to basetball...

Shardwurm 9 years, 8 months ago

This was an prime example of how the team with the biggest payroll doesn't always win.

Watching the game yesterday - and the faces of the KU fans late in the game - was absolutely priceless.

Great entertainment.

jhox 9 years, 8 months ago

One thing I've noticed is that in close Big 12 games, in the last 5 minutes, when there is a time out, Self is relaxed, smiling, passing that carefree attitude on to his players. He's not like that in NCAA tourney games. I don't know that I saw a single smile from him in the second half. He needs to loosen up and try to pass that care free attitude on to the players. Our guys play these NCAA games way to tightly wound.

David Robinett 9 years, 8 months ago

Bingo.

During the Richmond game, at the halftime interview walking off the court, Bill told the interviewer that "we're playing tight and need to loosen up" (or something to htat effect). However, the vein in his forehead was about to burst.

Coach looked very tight the whole tourney, and that may have been passed to his guys.

Other than the T, Shaka Smart looked very relaxed and having fun -- everything we said we'd do, but didn't do.

RockCaCO3 9 years, 8 months ago

For all those Self bashers I completely agree! Why the hell didnt he suit up and go out on the court and make those shots that all of his players were missing? That was just poor coaching.

RockCaCO3 9 years, 8 months ago

“I take all the credit for that, to tell you the truth,” Rodriguez said, meaning VCU’s defense.

Ahhh, humility at it's finest. Good show Rodriguez.

Alex Berger 9 years, 8 months ago

A basketball player not being humble? What???

I guess that is one of the perks of victories (just ask the Morris twins).

Chris Shaw 9 years, 8 months ago

After ringing up a pretty hefty bar tab last night I'm still not feeling the greatest this morning. Actually, I'm still pretty disgusted and everytime I get an "Image" of a Rozzelle or Skeen hitting a "3" I get this little "Head Shake" of disbelief going. It's quite an unpleasant feeling.

I think Self said it best in one of the articles, "when you put yourself in position to cash in, you have to take advantage of it. As much as I’d like to think it, these opportunities don’t happen every year. You’ve got to make most of them. We didn’t make most of ’em.”

This is the part that I'm having a hard time coming to grips with. I don't understand why KU can't "Cash In" on these type of games? What is it? Is it the Coach? Is it the Players? Is it simply having "Kansas" across the front of the jersey?

I understand this is hard part of being a fan when you bleed through and through for something as I do with "KU Basketball", but I have to say it.......................I just don't get the "Choke Jobs" by KU in the NCAA tourney?

What's even more troubling for me, was the absolute "Panic Mode" the team displayed in the first half. Sure, VCU was making a lot of shots, but somebody on that roster has to be a calming influence and take charge of the situation. IMO, from the Coaches down to the end of the bench, there wasn't one person that was able to do that yesterday. IMO, it should be the point guard, but nobody including Coach Self embraced the situation until halftime. IMO, that was too late to handle the situation that was occuring with our perimeter defense.

In the end, I'm not going to place blame and go down that road because quite frankly, I'm still in "Shock". I don't understand it and I don't get why this keeps happening to KU, especially when the road to the Championship opened up so beautifully for KU.

con't

Chris Shaw 9 years, 8 months ago

For me, this one of the most devastating losses I've ever witnessed. This is how I rank my most troubling losses and I'm sure I won't get over it anytime soon.

1) 2011 VCU loss in Elite 8-For the simple fact it was a game to get to the Final 4 and simply because of how rare and abnormal KU's road to the Championship opened up for KU in this tournament. It's going to be a hard one to muster for a long time.

2) 2003 Syracuse loss in Championship-It's crazy to think that you can beat Duke, Zona, and Marquette and play such beautiful basketball and then you run into a buzz saw in similar fashion to VCU yesterday in MaCnamara (First Half) and Melo (Second Half). Plus, you shoot 12-30 from the FT line and lose by 3 points. Still makes my head shake.

3) 1997 Zona loss in Sweet 16: We all Know! What if?

4) 1996 Syracuse loss in Elite 8: Basically, the same thinking I had this year in that Mississippi State was waiting for KU in the Final 4 and KU blew it. John Wallace had a career game.

5) 2005 Bucknell loss in the first round: Just because it was in the first round and KU had never done that before. Also, I know that team was downward spiral, but you would think a bunch of seniors with experience would prevail. Nope!

Joe Joseph 9 years, 8 months ago

What sucks about this loss is that there is absolutely no consolation for losing. Kansas doesn't hang "regional final" banners in AFH. You can look back at the '03 loss and at least think, 'hey, we had a chance.' But there was no chance this year and it stings even more to think that Butler was waiting in the final four, rather than Pittsburgh.

Zero consolation. Elite 8s mean nothing.

slowplay 9 years, 8 months ago

It was a great season and I think HCBS is one the best in the country. That said, I think he needs to shoulder much of the blame for this loss. Not only did the team play one its most undisciplined games of the season, I thought Self did a poor job of using his bench when VCU made it's first half run. The thing that is most disappointing is that KU has a terrible record of losing to inferior teams early in the Tournament (2008 excepted).

Jack Wilson 9 years, 8 months ago

Did anyone notice that coach Self took absolutely no blame for the loss?

Does he ever when we lose?

Does he take any blame for the team being tight against UNI, or Boston U.?

Did anyone notice that our starters all played 32 or more minutes; Selby was the only sub with more than 6 minutes?

How easy is this? Our coach choked. He got tight. He panicked.

We play 8 or 9 guys the whole last month and then he changes.

An important consideration when judging coaches is, what does he do when his team needs him? Coach Self choked. And he certainly won't take any of the blame. At least I haven't heard it yet. That should be the first thing he did; he just lets his players dangle out there as if this was solely on their shoulders. He says "our transition defense was poor." Not, "I didn't have them properly prepared in the transition game." Understand, he may have had them prepared in his mind .. done what he needed to do. But at least shoulder some of the blame.

This loss lays squarely on his doorstep, just like UNI.

It is no different than 2008 .. when a coach makes the right moves, has teams prepared, and adjusts his personnel when needed, he deserves praise and credit.

I can tell you exactly what he should have done; and I said this at the time .. he should have gone with Taylor, EJ, and Releford or Selby at the 1-3 spots (focusing on a mix of the 4), at about the 9:00 minute mark. After we made our run and VCU started pushing it back out. First, Reed and Morningstar were contributing nothing. Second, Reed and Morningstar were a step behind VCU in the athleticism department. Reed usually isn't, but the "rock in his shoe" was clearly slowing him down. Self obviously knows about the injury.

(As an aside to those that value "glue", I'm curious as to that value relatively speaking now .. just curious. But the Brady argument has been decisively, and painfully, concluded)

We needed to counter their athleticism and we had no answer -- or no answer that Self would utilize. We got beat for the same reason many feared all season.

We had Reed and Morningstar who were playing poorly, and Taylor who can't shoot. We were left with the twins. That's it. Everyone saw it; it was not a secret. But coach Self, in the most crucial moments of the season, failed to adjust. This loss is on him.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 8 months ago

I agree with a lot of your points HEM, especially about the playing time, being able to adjust, and Coach Self not shouldering much of the blame.

It is a common theme in all of KU's "Big Losses". I mean, KU literally only went 6 deep yesterday? That's a troubling statistic.

That's all I'm going to say at the moment HEM because I do disagree on some parts of your post, but I'll be completely honest..............I"m absolutely exhausted and it may take me a good few weeks to get over this loss.

Sincerely,

Still in disbelief, shock, and angry mode kushaw

slowplay 9 years, 8 months ago

Although I wouldn't trade coaches with anyone in the country, I think you are correct. I think sitting down Brady and Tyrell early would have accomplished 2 things. 1. Give them a chance to absorb what's happening and adjust. 2. To see if Selby, EJ or Releford would add a different dynamic to the game.

2 for 21 from beyond the arc??? At some point you have to adjust and attack the basket and forget the 3 pointer. Apparently that was never an issue coach Self.

hawksfan08 9 years, 8 months ago

When you play 2 guys who can't attack the paint, you are forced to shoot 3's. If those 3's aren't falling and your guards stop feeding the post, you're going to lose.

Hank Cross 9 years, 8 months ago

I would trade Bill for Brad Stevens right now and I don't even like Butler's style of play. But Stevens is the coolest customer on the sidelines since Wooden and Phil Jackson (the two best coaches in BB history). His calmness and confidence in his players is an anchor for them in crunch time.

Hank Cross 9 years, 8 months ago

Of course Bill will not step up and at least try to make his players feel better by taking responsibility for the loss. Not only was it unwise to let Tyrel and Brady play despite being cold as ice, it also wasn't fair to Brady or Tyrel. They had to have known that they weren't getting the job done and probably wished that someone would come off the bench and save the game and their own reputations in the process.

The sad part is that as late as the 10 min mark in the second half of the Richmond game it wasn't too late to get Travis and EJ in to really engage them in this tourney. Let them see their shot go through the net, grab a rebound, make an assist, something positive to let them know that they were ready if the starters faltered.

It is obvious to an objective viewer that Bill is like one of those people who manages to get into a high management position and spends the rest of his career defending his turf. Play golf with Brady's dad, rack up wins in a weak conference, dodge responisbility when the rubber meets the road, fall back on prior achievements - it is all so predictable.

KULA 9 years, 8 months ago

+1 oxcali. Bill Self is one of those "beautiful loser" "gutless wonder"

KULA 9 years, 8 months ago

+1 HEM. Bill Self is a choker, plain and simple. Some people saw it as far back as 05 & 06. Some saw it last year. And judging by today's posts, that opinion is becoming more popular. I thought he had grown as a coach and got over the hump with the 08 season, but now I believe that was an anomaly.

HawkBBall 9 years, 8 months ago

Shaka said it best when he said we were grabbing our shorts. Why were we winded? No legs, why? Did they not rest when they finished Friday's game? Exhaustion could explain the 2 for 21 from 3 and 15 of 28 from the line. It could explain not getting back on D quickly, or not springing out to the line to put a hand in someone's face.

To me, Kieff looked like he was in a fog. Eight turnovers came with his lack of concentration.

To me, Brady was trying to force the issue, doing reckless things to get the offense started.

Tyrel looked like he was tired.

Marcus and Tyshawn played well, but a two-man team can't win it.

AirCapJay 9 years, 8 months ago

Late in the season we were having success with out guards driving the ball to the basket. TT was doing much better at that and so was Tyrel and Brady. Why did we not do more of that when we could not hit the three? The twins were getting hacked to pieces trying to make baskets. Our come-back was due to the guards making some steals and easy layups. Why did we not do more full court pressure like VCU did? VCU is taking credit for wearing down our players..... it should be coach Self saying "I knew they had played a lot coming in and I knew if we pressured them hard they would wear out". Self was out "Smart"ed. "Shaka"ed.

KEITHMILES05 9 years, 8 months ago

This team and their smack and trash talking was their downfall.

They came out thinking VCU was gonna lay on the ground since THEIR jersey said Kansas. What a shock when they got hit in the mouth and then compounded things by not following the scouting report. These guys full thought they were the BB gods and were highly embarassed and sent home.

I'm disgusted with this trash talking. Just STFU and play ball. But no...........gotta run your mouth only to embarass yourselves and your university.

Sadly Self allowed this nonsense to continue and at the end of the day this is what he got.

kansas25 9 years, 8 months ago

It's a combination of coaching and bad play. You can't put all the blame on Coach Self, and you can't blame this loss entirely on the players.

I'm with HighEliteMajor, Self should have played his bench more. With air balls and bad play, clearly something needed to change. Also, I'm sure there are a wide array of coaching mistakes made during the game. HCBS will, I'm sure, reflect on those for the next few months.

I'm not sure if I've ever seen a team lazier in its transition defense than in yesterday's game. Wide open threes from a good 3-point shooting team is unacceptable. That blame is on the players.

Also, no team deserves to win if it can't shoot the ball from the free throw line and you have too many unforced turnovers. Championship teams do not make these types of mistakes. Again, that blame is on the players.

Finally, to 1957. It happens every single day in sports. One team plays better than another. It happened yesterday. VCU played better than KU. Period.

vd 9 years, 8 months ago

And if you watch closely, their players were tugging on their shorts for much of the game. When you don’t have your legs, it’s hard to make outside shots.”

KU’s bench played 32 minutes and scored just three points. Each of the five starters played at least 32 minutes.


IMO, coaching mistake. EJ, Releford, Selby, Little, TRob. Did not get enough PT, on Friday or yesterday. When Rodriguez was sitting, EJ should have played. Rodriguez was getting his legs, TT was losing his. Saying that, no way in he11 do I want a different coach. I know Blackhawk and others are disappointed that we lost out on Anderson and other great coaches, but I'll take BS.

stubert 9 years, 8 months ago

been reading this board a long time, but never have posted. Not an expert,but did see my first ku game in 1953. have ben to 30 plus final 4's. some on this board truly need a reality check. mr. self a good basketball coach but has a monster hole in his game. I'm wondering if it starts at bench coaching during a game

stubert 9 years, 8 months ago

been reading this board a long time, but never have posted. Not an expert,but did see my first ku game in 1953. have ben to 30 plus final 4's. some on this board truly need a reality check. mr. self a good basketball coach but has a monster hole in his game. I'm wondering if it starts at bench coaching during a game

Sam Brockert 9 years, 8 months ago

I swear why do some fans always like to think KU should be the second coming of John Wooden's UCLA teams? You think we should win the title or place second every year? That is just not possible in this day and age.

Ron Franklin 9 years, 8 months ago

Coaching:

While I agree that three obvious mistakes were made by Self, I don't see any way anybody can say the loss is squarely on his shoulders. Or is all his fault. Bottom line is he didn't play the game. He didn't shoot free throws, and he did not miss the wide open threes. He did not force shots down low, and he did not leave their perimeter players wide open for 3 after 3. Coach played percentages. That's what he always does. The partial blame he deserves is for not subbing correctly, and thus not putting enough pressure on VCU early to wear them down. They just went into OT two days ago. I would have pressed the hell out of them the entire first half and killed their legs. The other change I wish Self would have made; after going 2 of 15 from behind the arc, I woud have demanded everything be fed inside, drive, drive, drive. Continuing to let the fridid team shoot behind the arc was horrilble. But again, he plays percentages.

I have to say, that along with poor shooting, I thought the officials had their hand in controlling the swing of the momentum on several occassions.

Championships:

Of course we all want one every year. Some of the posters here expect a 'great' season every year. I am one of them at times. But if the definition of greatness is winning the championship, then a lot of teams do not live up to those expectations. We notice the Jayhawks shortcomings, because that's our team. We follow them religiously for 5-6 months,some of us all year around on this site anticipating October 15th.

Since 1980: UNC 5 chamionships Duke 4 championhips Louisville 2 championships Kentucky 2 championships Florida 2 championships UConn 2 championships Kansas 2 championships

Georgetown, Villanova, Indiana, Michigan, UNLV, Arkansas, UCLA, Arizona, Mich. St, Maryland & Syracuse each have 1 in the last 30 years.

So, Kansas is not as Elite as we want them to be. They have been bested only by Duke & UNC over the last 30 years. But, they are still pretty damn good, and I can live with that. If I could not learn to live with 30 plus wins and a 'chance' to make a run every year, I might consider myself selfish. I don't know for sure.

Final thought. If Coach Self is not good enough for KU, who is?

Hank Cross 9 years, 8 months ago

I think IU has two (1981, 1987) and if you move the year back to 1979, the Magic-Bird game that really triggered interest in the tourney, Michigan State would also have two.

What sets KU's losses in the tourney apart is the repeated famous upsets despite consistently having good teams. A comparison of the winning percentage from the Brown era on might be very telling. I guessing that KU is right there with Duke and UNC, but is way behind in titles.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 8 months ago

I have to correct one minor thing:

UNC only has 4 Championships since 1980. Let's not give them extra credit when they haven't deserved it. 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

RockCACO3,

I am sorry you are hurting from the sting of loss.

When you feel better, you will see the good intentions in what I have said and the absense of anything but love for Coach Self and this team.

You will see how wonderfully close Coach Self is to getting good enough to go deep, whenever he has an exceptional team, as he has had the last two seasons.

Coach Self knows he missed to big opportunities the last two seasons.

Two seasons ago, the team was expected to win it all, because it had so much talent.

This season, Self had coached an amazing group of human beings to rise to levels few expected at the beginning of the year, to become by the day of the VCU loss, the first or second most likely team to win the tournament.

Both years the players and Coach Self performed fabulously well and, in fact, well enough in almost every respect to win it all. Few, few coaches and teams can say that. Can't you see what a great coach he is? Can't you see how amazingly good these two teams were? They just each had one fatal flaw: they let their worst trey shooting night, their worst performance be just a hair too low.

For god sakes, we are not talking here about having to learn to keep their trey shooting at 35% to 40% for 6 games. All Self has to do is push their trey shooting up from 10% to 20% on their bad night. And every team has an off night during six games.

Coach Self has only to get better at teaching players how to reduce the bottom of the trough of their bad games in the NCAA tourney. That's it.

Of course, he can get better at this. He has already mastered a long list of things that are vastly harder to solve. He and his teams have only to get a tiny bit better in this regard. Improving from 10% trey shooting to 20% trey shooting is just fine tuning of human performance under pressure. It can be done!

And he will do it.

Many coaches have figured this out over the years.

Self is so close.

It took Wooden ten years of frustrating defeats to learn how to reduce the bottoms of the troughs of performance.

Do you really not see how simple and clear the problem is?

The solution may be complicated, or simple, but the problem is perfectly defined for him now, if he will only acknowledge it.

And he will.

dochambers 9 years, 8 months ago

IMHO much of the problems KU seems to have in NCAA tourney games has to do with attitude. I seem to remember Tyshawn Taylor being quoted after last year's first game to the effect that he wasn't worried when they were down early...but he might have been if we were playing a team that was any good. Then, after the loss to NIU, Collins was quoted as saying "How could we lose, we are the best team in the country?" Or something like that.

This year, this is how AP says it: "VCU guard Joey Rodriguez counted one of Kansas' vaunted Morris twins...as one of those doubters. During a pre-game captain's meeting with officials, Rodriguez said one of the brothers offered him some parting words: 'The run ends here.' 'We'll see,' Rodriguez shot back."

And they surely did.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

Problem definition is always the trickiest part of solving any problem.

Define it incorrectly and the answer will never address the real problem.

Define it correctly and it is only a matter of time before a great coach like Self will solve it.

There is such a thing as getting lucky and winning at something without really understanding how you did it.

I believe the 2008 ring team fell into place and performed in a way that Self thought he understood, but in fact did not truly understand. He understood most of it. He understood 99 percent of it. But what he clearly did not understand was how to reduce the lowest low to the level of that 2008 team.

The players in 2008 learned how to do it, or they got lucky and just did it themselves.

Self thought he understood how they did it.

But he didn't.

This is not a knock on him. He is brilliant in so many ways. He wins so many games for teams with his almost faultless coaching.

But his coaching does have faults. No person is perfect. No coach is perfect. Self is not perfect.

Perfection in fact is for suckers. Perfection is metaphysical. Perfection means one gives one self the false notion that perfection is real and then spends one's life trying to attain an illusion.

But at the same time, it is equally mistaken (and foolish) to assume that any thing cannot be gotten better at.

Coach Self has assumed apparently for his entire coaching life that a team plays 1/3 bad games, 1/3 average games, and 1/3 great games.

Coach Self has rightly decided that one big key to being a champion is learning how to "play through" those bad games. He has found mental toughness, devotion to not letting your teammates down, great expectations, intense effort, laboring, grinding, playing loose, etc. are all parts of the solution.

Self is brilliant at solving problems that are correctly defined. He is relentless. He is creative. He is good at communicating solutions. He is good at getting players to believe. And so on.

What is apparent to me is that he has not yet defined the problem exactly right.

These two losses will, after the pain recedes, offer him the proper problem definition.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

Shooting 10 percent treys two seasons in a row may be statistical coincidence in the sense that they came two seasons in a row. But the depth of the trough does not appear random to me. Ten percent trey shooting is conspicuous. Ten percent trey shooting when you are at the peak of your game in the streak of games you are building for each season...this does not appear coincidental, whether these performances occur two years in a row, or ten years apart.

I cannot prove this, but I strongly suspect that John Wooden's teams never shot 10 percent from outside in a single game in ten years of his ten ring teams.

Frankly, I don't recall any other coach that has won a ring that has had two teams, even one team, shoot ten percent from trey in the tournament, not once but twice, with a 1 seed team, or team with any seed.

To put this in perspective, every great coach I can think of has been upset. Every great coach I can think of has had his teams have stinky outside shooting nights, stinky free throw shooting nights, and has lost in the tournament, because of it.

But not 9.5 percent nights. This is a conspicuous stat. It is an anomaly. It is an outlier.

So far in Self's career he has said often that he does not believe in talking to his players about shooting, about trey shooting and about free throw shooting. He believes in talking to them about other things. This implies that Self assumes shooting is best left to random chance; that coaches do more harm than good when they intervene to modulate it.

Having grown up in the Ted Owens era and having watched him ruin so many shooters shots with intervention, I have been inclined to agree with Coach Self.

But the extremity of two ten percent trey shooting nights impeaches the credibility of the "say nothing and let the ebb and flow of percentages take care of things" approach.

There has to be a happy medium between interfering too much and incorrectly, as Owens did, and not enough as appears to be the case with Self.

Self is a master at walking through the looking glass when dealing with problems; that is, at finding the answer not in "either/or" thinking, but in "both" thinking.

Self could not have been more brilliant and dogged as a coach than in how he finally managed the point guard situation with Tyshawn and EJ. It took him all season, but he finally got it right. Most coaches would never have gotten right in ten seasons.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

I suspect now that Self has these two data points, these two losses with 10 percent trey shooting staring him in the fact, he will begin a quest to solve this problem too. And I believe he will solve the problem and I believe it will require him to go through his own personal looking glass to solve it.

Much as he had to discover, and help Tyshawn and EJ to discover, that it took some of both of them to solve the point guard problem, Self is going to discover that solving the too-low-trey-trough in NCAA tournament games is going to require some of both not talking about shooting and talking about shooting.

The increment KU needs to improve in this regard is so small that there has to be a way.

It may be as simple as Self and the team working with a sports psychologists on balancing broad and narrow focus better.

It may be increasing conditioning of the legs and cardio so as to better maintain the platform of jump shooting and so shoot just a little better on the off nights.

It may be talking more about shooting, and about having slightly more swagger.

But bottom line, there is no law of basketball, or statistics, that says a team's trough in trey shooting has to be 10 percent, and not 20%.

The excellence of Self's coaching helps his teams defy so many tendencies of other teams, to play above the level of the tendencies of so many other teams, that it is not credible that Self and his teams cannot get better at reducing the depths of the troughs of his team's trey shooting in the Madness.

This can be done.

This will be done.

Self has to quit looking at talking about shooting troughs as if it were "taboo," as if it were something solely in the hands of the gods.

Shooting 10 percent from trey is a human act.

If human beings can learn to fly, then they can learn to improve their trey shooting troughs in NCAA tournaments from 10 percent to 20 percent, so that they can survive their bad games, and win the rings that their incredible talent and hard work merit.

But it has to begin with Bill Self giving himself the permission to coach away these troughs.

More than anything, John Wooden learned to coach away the troughs. He had to to win his first two rings with less talent than his opponents, to win a ring with a 6'5" center from Topeka, Kansas.

But lots of other coaches have learned to coach away the troughs.

Coaching away the troughs will not make you the best team.

But if you are the best team, coaching away the troughs will make it so you do not beat yourself.

And if you are not the best team, it will let you get by a lot of teams that are in one of their troughs.

Rock Chalk, Coach Self, you can do it. This may be one of the most difficult things for you to do at a personal, psychological level, but you can get better at this and your teams will get better right along with you.

What a great, great season!

Rock Chalk!

AirCapJay 9 years, 8 months ago

Coach Self stated to a reported last night when asked what he will think when he reviews the game tape, and Self said he probably would not look at it because the game is over and the season is over. Self did not look at the UNI tape either. I think this is a big mistake on HCBS part. He can improve his coaching by reviewing those tapes so that he does not make the same mistakes year after year in the tournament.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

Maybe. Maybe not.

Your comment assumes that Self cannot and does not recall the two games in minute detail and so cannot and does not learn from his mistakes.

I suspect he knows right now that his teams troughs in trey shooting in the tournament are way lower than other highly seeded teams troughs are.

He needs to get away from this loss right now and hit the recruiting trail tomorrow.

He desperately needs to find two big men and two glue men for next season.

Talent first.

Solutions second.

If you don't have any talent, your solutions will not be focused on winning rings, they will be focused on solving how to be mediocre, rather than terrible.

I don't want Self thinking about this problem now.

I want him thinking about this problem when he's got the talent locked up.

mjprcjh0314 9 years, 8 months ago

could be as simple as finding that one person on the team that has ice flowing through their veins and then make sure they get enough PT throughout the season to be ready to contirbute on the biggest stage in the highest pressure situation to just hit those few shots we need from the three ... just identify who is the best big time, high pressure go to person is and that may not be a person who gets a lot of minutes regularily due to lack of consistency, or lack of playing great defense, or other reasons, but identify that person and let them get enough playing time throughout the year to be able to step in and hit those shots, maybe? Just a thought on maybe a solution to problem as you present it Jaybate, which seems pretty logical!!

mjprcjh0314 9 years, 8 months ago

Actually, the more i think about it, tenacious D from the beginning and we probably win the game even with the poor FT and 3pt shooting. Maybe the early fouls hurt our tanacity and we became a little more lax, tryin not to get fouls. It is easier said than done obviously, I think they had the mind set to lock down and play tenacious D, but obviously it didn't happen, not because they were not trying hard, but I don't know why?

Joe Joseph 9 years, 8 months ago

Four of Self's seven tournament losses while at Kansas have been to mid-major programs.

I'm not bashing Self, but WTF?!

eastcoasthawk 9 years, 8 months ago

It's called perception. We have found that if this team doesn't feel threatened by their opponent they don't give it their all. We saw it many times this season where they cruised through some games. They might have been talking the talk but when it came to game day they weren't walking the walk. They weren't sharp and didn't play smart. As soon as we went up by 6 to start the game it looked like they took their foot off the gas pedal because they were getting everything they wanted inside. Then they missed 6 free throws in a row and you knew it would be one of those days and had to hope for the best. Parity is certainly a part of it but I believe this team in particular doesn't bring it every day. Yet, I am still a die hard fan and enjoyed the past two seasons.

nytemayr 9 years, 8 months ago

Tom Keegan today your anaylsis is just weak!!!!

KU lost and there just just two words about it!!!

FREE THROWS!!!

Get the idea Tom!!!!

Now rewrite this and get it right!!!!

FLJHK 9 years, 8 months ago

Most of you might consider this a stretch, but I offer it up anyway.

Yesterday this team choked, coach and players. Fact is, while all of the big time college programs have done the same a number of times, e.g. Duke, UNC, Syracuse, it seems to occur at Kansas more frequently and in more dramatic fashion than elsewhere. Why does this occur? In my view it is because at Kansas there is more pressure put on the backs of our basketball team than anywhere else.

Why do we do that? It’s part of our DNA.

In defiance of logic and reason, Kansans suffer an inferiority complex. We are a sparsely populated state with a paucity of natural physical amenities. There is an ingrained feeling that we don’t quite measure up with many other states.

Some forget that while we’ve had a nice historical basketball tradition, the program had faded to irrelevancy until Larry Brown came along. Then suddenly, we became relevant again. The ‘88 team gave us validation, (even though the ’86 team was probably better). That initiated a period of overall basketball excellence through Roy and continuing with Bill that is basically without peer. Our psyches are tied into the success of KU hoops more so than anywhere else, including the usual suspects, because it’s our singular claim to a national identity. It’s a heavy weight to carry, and it is transferred squarely on the backs of our coaches and a group of 19 and 20 year old kids. It’s quite a burden and one that few can carry. I know I couldn’t.

In 2008, the stars aligned and we won it all. Few events in my life have been so sweet. Not only was it the pride of victory, it was validation – of our team, of our state, and of our place in the pantheon of college hoops. We belonged, not just because of history, but because of contemporary reality. It felt good beyond measure.

Cont.

Hank Cross 9 years, 8 months ago

You are really on to something. Although I will aways be proud to be from KS and a KU graduate, living a way from the midwest has given me a certain perspective. Every region has its quirks, and there does seem to be a midwestern defensive mindset/inferiority complex at play. I don't understand this b/c Kansas and KU have so many great attributes. During the confernce re-alignement I was hopefull that KU could've gone to the P10 b/c I truly believe that it belongs in a superior athletic and academice conference.

The defensive attitude shows up when I dared call out the rest of the B12 as weak, some people here felt compelled to defend the rest of these lame programs.

It was my hope that the twins could've transformed this mindest and given it a killer attitude.

REHawk 9 years, 8 months ago

jaybate, many thanks for your dependable food for thought. I admire your holding up so well in light of some of your harshest critics. Indeed a strange coincidence, our 3-pt. shooting percentages costing us so dearly in mathchups with lower tournament seeds two years consecutively. Not merely anomalies. Something Bill Self can work toward controlling. Late in both contests, tired legs, obviously. But 10% twice? Holy Moly!

FLJHK 9 years, 8 months ago

But to complete that validation, we desperately want one or two more rings. With that we will truly achieve the status we regard as our birthright. And the pressure to do so is immense. And we as fans are as guilty as anyone of adding to that pressure. The pressure was probably particularly acute for the two native born Kansans on our team yesterday, and it showed. It’s a recipe for failure in the most pressure packed of moments.

Yesterday hurt badly. I truly believed even prior to the start of the tourney that this year was going to be special. But this is not a time for anger, and if we want to do some finger pointing we might as well be pointing at ourselves as well. We all have a stake in this.

It’s certainly a time for some introspection. I remain confident that we will figure it out, and certainly think Coach Self is the person to lead the effort. We will win again. But it won’t be as easy or frequent as we all wish it could be. Even if the demons of pressure and expectation are set aside, good fortune will always play a role in winning a one and done tournament.

In the meantime, we can all loosen up, and simply be proud and thankful for the wonderful institution that is Kansas basketball. With all the heartbreak it brings, the joys become that much sweeter.

Rock Chalk!

Ethan Berger 9 years, 8 months ago

Seriously guys, stop bashing mid majors. Guess what, Half the final four is a mid-major team. Why are yall hanging your heads? Why is this all selfs fault? Im tired of people saying that we should have used the bench. Did you not see in the article were the benched played 32 minutes and got three points? The gameplan was set and ran actually really well. Problem was the shots didn't fall. We had about 15 wide open threes and only made 2. You guys understand that if we had a bad shooting nigh we would have won? We had a horrible shooting night. We averaged about 40 percent from behind the arc. If we only hit 33 percent this game, we win by 5. And that would have been a bad shooting night. Has everyone so quickly forgot about Brady Morningstars 18 points against richmond while the Morii Twins Struggled? Suddenly its all his fault? Marcus and Tysean were the only one who played well. When are bench came in, they faired no better. The open shots, missed under the baskets, missed free throws. All of those shot you want as a coach. They just didn't fall. VCU did not tire us. They got lucky, they played great but lucky that we couldn't hit a shot. We werent tired in the first 5 minutes when we were like 0-7 behind the arc. All of which were wide open. Watch the game tape boys, we misssed wide open shots, they made em. Simple as that.

BCRavenJHawkfan 9 years, 8 months ago

See my information about season averages below. Your 40% is far too generous if you threw out the high and the low.

Ethan Berger 9 years, 8 months ago

Thats basketball, anytime you throw out the high and low, you get a much different stat. Even with our average of 30 percent, we still win. with 38 games played, i though we shot well from the three point. For isntance, we were on fire from three agaisnt mizzou at home. The three killed us, but 9 pecent in awful considering well over half those three were wide open.

BCRavenJHawkfan 9 years, 8 months ago

2 for 21 from three point land. Hmmm. Anyone care to guess our worst three point percentage up to that point this year? It was 16%. Anyone care to guess who it was against? Michigan. Next lowest output at the three was at K. St. with 20%. Next lowest was 28% against Mizzou. Highest was 60% against the juggernaut North Texas. The rest of the time we hovered around 30%. So without that really, really, out of this world 60% game our trend on the three would be lower.

The entire year I never thought we were very reliable from the three point line, and it proved to be true. So, will we ever, ever get a true knock-em-dead three point assassin?

Oh and for those that think VCU has simply gotten hot at the three, look at the details! They had ONE, that's right, ONE! crap game from the three all year (7%), which is what pulled their "season average" down. On a game by game basis they proved to be better at the three than those season averages let on.

To be honest it never looked like we never even so much as looked up anything on these guys let alone watched any of there play.

For the love of Jo Jo White, Florida St. played them better than we did!

DenverBuzz 9 years, 8 months ago

Criticism of Coach Self is appropriate here. Yes, other coaches have not won champioships. Yes, ALL teams have faltered in the Big Dance. Yet, we'd be hard pressed to come up with one that has lost to as many mid-majors and lower seeds as Coach Self. It's one thing to lose to Syracuse, Duke, UConn, UK, UCLA, and quite another to lose to B, B, NI and VCU. It's also one thing to get beat by a better team, and quite another to beat yourself. That's what bugs me the most. Missed FTs and shoddy defense are not the other teams' responsibility. Fatigue should not be a factor (see: UConn)...that's why teams are allowed more than 5 players.

KU didn't adjust, didn't sub, didn't pressure VCU. Nor were they focused. It happens, yes. It happens to all teams sometimes. It happens to KU more often in the tourny. Why? Good coaches inspire talent to play hard. Great coaches adjust to circumstances. Roy was a good coach. So, too, it seems is Bill. That's fine, but Coach Self has much more potential.

Dan Philipps 9 years, 8 months ago

Teams can have an off night, even if it's one of the biggest games of their careers. It's unfortunate, but reality.

Bill Self is actually a very good coach in terms of consistency. He teaches his players a system and 8 times out of 10, the players execute it to perfection. (I think his winning percentage is right at 80%).

This consistency builds an elite program over time, which KU is, and will remain to be while Bill Self is head coach.

My issue, which blind Hawk fans never seem to address, is the lack of ADJUSTMENTS we make during a game. When things are not going well, we tend to stick to the same formula. It's basic faith ... believe in the system that got you here and it will carry you to the promised land (See 2008 National Championship). Sometimes it works when the other team completely melts down!

But on the other end of the spectrum, this philosophy can be viewed as stubborn or simply outdated. Utilizing one style and one philosophy of play in the 60's-70's (UCLA) was actually quite effective because the talent pool was so limited. If your players were that much more talented, you don't have to change!

But today, that is not the case. A talented coach teaches a consistent playing style but is not afraid to ADAPT based on the conditions of the game. Go big, go small, full court press, zone, man to man, pick and roll, hi - low, post up guards, etc.... If the game dictates a different style, your only chances of winning are to change with it.

Bill Self is a great coach, but I hope he realizes that adapting during a game is not a weakness, it's a skill that all elite coaches possess.

Hopefully next year we will continue to run the classic (and successful) KU offense / defense under Bill Self. All I can hope for is a little more flexibility in game situations where that system is not working and short term adjustments need to be made. The funny part of it is, I'm only talking about 3-5 games per year at 10 minutes per game!

And regarding the rough play of Reed / Morningstar in the last game, imagine you are Self. Are you going to sit down a pair of seniors who could potentially be playing their last game for an inconsistent freshman and recent redshirt? Probably not.

Personally, I can fully understand why Self stuck with them because it could have swung either way. If they make a couple shots, Self is a genius. If they miss, he is the goat. 99% of us never had that opportunity in life and both Reed / Morningstar should keep their heads up. They had GREAT KU CAREERS. I can almost guarantee you not a single person on this string has been more successful in sports than those two.

ku_foaf 9 years, 8 months ago

I agree with Keegan that this felt very like the Syracuse game. They made 3s and free throws. We didn't. Same result, we lost.

Ron Franklin 9 years, 8 months ago

Since 1990: “upsets” by Mid Majors/Mid Level Talent in NCAA Tourney

Duke: Eastern Michigan 1996 Providence 1997 Louisiana State 16 2006 VCU Rams 2007

Kansas UTEP 1992 Rhode Island 1998 Bucknell 2005 Bradley 2006 UNI 2010 VCU 2011

UNC Texas Tech 1996 Utah 1998 Weber St 1999 Penn St 2001 Did not make tournament 2002 Did not make tournament 2003 George Mason 2006 Did not make tournament: 2010

Jack Wilson 9 years, 8 months ago

You forgot to note national championships since 1990 .. right?

Ron Franklin 9 years, 8 months ago

not really, I addressed that in another post! But I hear ya! the point of this wasn't to point out success, but to put into perspective the losses vs. mid-majors.

unfortunately, Bill's 2005 & 2006, 2010 & 2011 really stand out, and that's a fact. development of pattern.

i'm ready to stop scheduling umkc, pitts state, & washburn and replace those with Wichita State, UNI, VCU, UAB, Richmonds etc.

KULA 9 years, 8 months ago

Bill Self is a choker, plain and simple. Emphatically telling your team "Come on guys, loosen up!" only serves to make them tighter. Teams take their cues from their coaches. If the coach is tight, teams are tight. The deepest team in the country reduced to exhaustion because as the games got more important, the coach's collar tighten and he tightened his rotation. Can't put Travis or Mario or EJ or Withey--they might make a mistake. Gotta leave my very best players in all the time cuz they're less likely to make a mistake. Choke, choke choke. Just like last year. Does anyone here think it wouldn't have been a good idea to have EJ TRob and Withey prepared to give a few minutes against UNI last year? Same thing this year, utilizing only 6 men against VCU. Add to that the mistake early in the season deciding that Brady and Tyrell were going to be your best perimeter players, relegating Josh, EJ, Mario and Travis to bench players. Like the point was made early in the season, Brady should not have been playing more that 10-12 minutes a game. If he'd have given Brady's minutes to Travis & Mario, we'd have gotten 20 pts/game out of that position. Instead, a coach with the highest average win margin in the nation, wasted all those game minutes he could have been using to develop the other players. Instead, he decided to hitch his wagon to Brady Mourningstar. A three man who, on his most fantastic day, has a ceiling of about 15 points. With the same minutes, I know Mario could've regularly put up better numbers than that. How do I know that? Because he was the national junior college player of the year. And I know he didn't get that award for his defense. I really feel bad for Mario--Bill really wasted him here at Kansas. Where was that vaunted glue guy steadying influence Brady was supposed to bring? I wonder if Brady was lipping off against VCU like he did against Richmond. Is Bill like, friends with Brady's dad or something? Is this like grade school ball, where you play your friend's kids? I thought for a moment, Bill was gonna face reality and sit Brady and go with Josh and his athleticism, but no, as soon as we started to get a little settled, back came Brady. That guy from nebraska was pretty prescient, wasn't he?

HawkKlaw 9 years, 8 months ago

I disagree. Bill Self is not a choke-artist. He's the winner of seven straight Big 12 Regular Season Championships! Five out of the last six Big 12 Tournament Championships! National Champion!!! KU has 30+ wins almost every year under Self! That is truly ridiculous.

Sure, KU has been beaten by lesser teams in the NCAA tournament under Self, but I would argue that it happens to everyone. With the "win or go home" format, any team can get hot/cold and win/lose. That's the nature of the tournament. VCU got hot, KU got cold. That's not Self's fault.

I don't agree with your assessment of Brady Morningstar either. First, Elijah is a point guard, therefore he is not competing for Brady's spot. Mario is more of a 4 spot than a 3 spot, so he is not really in competition with Brady either. Releford was competing for Brady's spot until he got injured (after which he never really got back to his true form). If he wouldn't have gotten injured, I bet he would have played a lot more. And Selby, as much potential has he's got, didn't do a whole lot to claim the starting role. I can only think of a couple times this season where Selby actually contributed more than Morningstar. Brady was the starter for a couple reasons: He plays better defense than his teammates and he's more consistent overall. Selby was inconsistent, didn't know his role, and didn't play great defense. However, next year I think Selby will be a heck of a lot better all around and will earn that starting spot.

RockCaCO3 9 years, 8 months ago

Kula, see BlownJays post above yours.. I guess Coach K, Dean Smith and Roy are chokers too.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 8 months ago

See my response to Blownjay ... please add up national titles.

ABeesus 9 years, 8 months ago

I like HiEliteMajor's analysis best.

The Hawks seemed to not take some teams seriously.
USC [barely won].K State. NU.

Last year, UNI was the same. When the 'bad' team played well, Hawks panicked and lost.

Anyone doing bed checks on these guys? They look as if they party, or stay up late, the nights before playing 'lesser' teams.

Might explain why as a group, they tire more easily, and fine motor skills such as treys are so far off.

After the Syracuse loss, Roy Williams japed about not practicing zones, didn't like 'em. Too bad for KU Self seems to also not want that in the toolbox.

Try playing paper scissors rock w/ just one of the three options.
Other teams exploit rigid thinking.

I don't buy that KU would win 4 out of 5 games against VCU.
Based on what evidence?

HawkKlaw 9 years, 8 months ago

Well, all season long I've been harping on the notion that if KU didn't get better at shooting free throws, it would eventually be the end of us...and it was. Sure, there were many other contributing factors, but if KU could have gotten some momentum from hitting shots at the line who knows how the game would've ended up. In 2008, free throws helped us win the National Championship. Not so much in 2011.

However, there is always a positive side. First, Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford and (probably) Josh Selby will all be back next year. That's a pretty legit core of good guards that could lead any NCAA team. TRob is probably gone (hard to pass up millions of dollars in the situation he's in), but the Morrii may just stick around and try to win a National Championship together. If they stay, KU will easily have another fantastic year next year. And honestly (be gentle), even if the twins leave, KU will still be one of the best bball teams in the NCAA. (Recall the 2008-09 season after we lost the entire 2007-08 Championship rotation besides Cole and Sherron...)

I've heard a lot of people blaming Bill Self for the team not being ready. I think that is preposterous. Self had the team ready; KU just came out flat. We couldn't hit any shots. Plain and simple. That isn't Bill Self's fault; that's on the players (ahem...back up your trash talking Marcus) for not stepping up when it counted (just like against UNI last season). Regardless, this was one great season for KU. It may not have been the greatest season we ever had, but if you want to remember that you don't have to think back too far. It always sucks to go out on a loss at the end of the season, but what can you do? That's the nature of the tournament.

KULA 9 years, 8 months ago

Bill Self's whole offense is lame. It might be good enough to dominate the weak Big 12 (one team in the Final Four in the last 7 years) but it's shown up to be lame on the national stage. Usually against a mediocre mid major. It's extremely predictable and easily defended. All way back to Wayne Simien's days, when it turned an All American into a NCAA one and done. Eddie Sutton won a lot of games, but he never won a championship with the okie hokie pokie, did he. (And sorry, but thats what we judge by here at Kansas when you're a #1 seed) All you have to do is pack in a zone in the middle and make them shoot from outside. Live by the three, die by the three. And sorry, but contrary to popular belief on this board, Brady and Tyrel are not good shooters. They are extremely selective set shooters. All you have to do is get a hand up or get near them, and they won't even shoot, much less make one. But Bill decided to invest all his game minutes in them instead of quicker more athletic shooters who could actually get a shot off a move. The best coaches use their game minutes during the season to develop their players to give them the best chance to win in the tourney. Bill picked the wrong players. Wasting players on the bench, not using regular season game minutes to develop them. Withey, Travis, Mario, EJ. Even Josh. Yes Josh should have been given the minutes to naturally develop (like Brady) so he wouldn't have felt like he had to push so hard to make an impact in his limited minutes. Bill ended the season, much like last year, with several unused rounds in the chamber. Bill's coaching emphasizes negative reinforcement for failure over positive reinforcement for success (see Tyshawn's quote earlier about looking over to the bench with every mistake) We've seen it as long as he's been here, with his quick hook for every mistake (except for Brady). This teaches your players to fear of the possibility of failure more than to embrace the possibility of success. You know what you get from that? Players who are afraid to take the big shot in crunch time. Did you see anyone who looked like they wanted to shoot a three in the last ten minutes? Josh was the only baller who looked like he wanted to shoot a three the whole game (but he's pushing too much, right?). A first round draft pick who has to play behind Brady and Tyrel. Btw, anyone who thinks this is hindsight, all these points have been posted by me others all this year and much of last year.

Hank Cross 9 years, 8 months ago

Yep. Why Eddie Sutton is considered some type of guru is beyond me. Two Okey Ball teams in a row beaten by VCU.

KULA 9 years, 8 months ago

Because jaybate says so. Don't you listen to the leader?

FLJHK 9 years, 8 months ago

Jim Rome today, "It's hard to make a free throw when both of your hands are around your neck."

KU choked. It happens to all, but to us too much. It's a pattern. And it's a problem. Yes, VCU is a good team and played great. But they don't have the talent of Kansas. Yesterday was not a statistical anomaly. It didn't just so happen that our worst shooting game of the season occurred on that stage. We've seen it too many times to reasonably think that.

Everyone knows what pressure is. I've choked on two foot putts with a whole dollar at stake. So I'm not about to criticize anyone with the KU basketball team given the pressure they are under.

But the first step in solving a problem is admitting you have one. KU does. Acknowledge it, understand it, respect it and confront it. Then figure out how to overcome it. It can be done and I'm certain that under Coach Self it will be done. But realize it has to be done first.

Kansas basketball will survive this and thrive again. And even when we learn to better handle the pressure, sometimes we will lose to a team that simply outplays us. But we can't continue beating ourselves in these situations because we lack to tools to deal with the pressure.

SCHNBALL 9 years, 8 months ago

Above comments are right, if you have to tell your team to loosen up against Boston U you will be in trouble. Right before the game started, I asked, did we really defend the 3 against Richmond that well or did they just miss alot of shots, from my view, they missed what I would call alot of open 3's. Did any of you catch the board behind Shaka yesterday before the game, he figured out what Calipari did against OSU and NC, THERE are no solid true post players in the game, his note said, play straight up with some 'digging' no double teaming the post, our 3's were contested while they had open looks from behind the arch. The players said they did not follow the scouting report, don't know if this is true or not at this point, but we have no reason not to believe them.

All year long the debate went on about Reed and Morningstar, with I believe HighElite saying that did not have 'it' when the game was on the line, how true this was yesterday. Seniors are not supposed to be nervous, they are supposed to be leaders. I do believe Self is a great teacher of the game, I however think he is a sub-par game coach at best.

KULA 9 years, 8 months ago

He probably told them "Loosen up or you'll lose this game Gdmit!"

KULA 9 years, 8 months ago

Maybe Missouri will offer Bill $10 million. He can go there, win 30 games, win the Big 12 and make it to the Elite Eight. They'll be in heaven.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 8 months ago

I don't know about the rest of you, but I hope everybody comes back next year. I said all season that this team reminded me of the "07" Elite 8 team more so than the "08" Championship team simply because of it's experience level in the NCAA tournament.

I think Taylor, the Twins, Selby, EJ, and T-Rob have taken a little longer to understand the true "Inner Beings" of the NCAA tournament, but I really think next year could be their year if they take a step back and evaluate everything that is in front of them.

The 08 championship team went through the first round loss to Bradley and the terrific season before the Elite 8 loss to UCLA in 07 before they could make a run in 08 for the title.

Much is the same IMO with this group. They lost in the Sweet 16 to MSU, lost in the Second Round to UNI, and now have lost in the Elite 8 to VCU after another great season. All the tools are there and the experinces they have gained and with everybody returning next year would totally get me excited and in due time I think next year's team could be considered in that same breathe as 08.

HawkKlaw 9 years, 8 months ago

Lol! Where were all of these Bill Self haters back in 2007-08? Fair-weathering?

What a horrible coach: 1 National Championship; 7 straight Big 12 regular season championships; 5 out of the last 6 Big 12 tourney championships; no coach has won more games than him since he came to KU; 33+ wins in 4 of the last 5 years; a total of 45 losses in 8 years; what a chump!!! Coaches do that in their sleep. He has no idea how to coach. I hope KU goes out and gets someone who will help the program be more successful.

Rabble, rabble.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 8 months ago

Hawkklaw: It's not fair-weathering at all. I mean, if you're going to sit there and list accomplishments by Bill Self it's only fair to have the other end of the argument as well by talking about his NCAA failures as a higher seed in the tournament.

While I agree the NCAA tournament is about "Match-up's" more so than seeds, it's hard to against Self's NCAA tournament failures as coach while at Kansas.

2004: #4 seed lost to #3 Georgia Tech in OT in the Elite 8-Have no problem with this loss although KU did give the game away. Had an opportunity to play Okie State in the National Semi-Finals

2005: #4 seed lost to #13 seed Bucknell in First Round. This loss was tough to muster considering it was Simien's, Miles, and Langford's senior year.

2006: #3 seed lost to #14 seed Bradley in the First Round. I didn't mind this loss as much as the previous season simply because of my understanding of the make up of the team and primarily being Freshman and Sophomores. Actually, I'm okay with it to this day. With that said, the timing of the loss was terrible from a National Perspective for the pundits to poke fun simply because of the meltdown of the team the year before.

2007: #1 seed lost to #2 seed UCLA in Elite 8. In the grand scheme of things this wasn't a bad loss, however, it was still the #1 seed losing before getting to the Final 4.

2008: #1 seed and won the NCAA Championship

2009: #3 seed lost to #2 seed MSU in the Sweet 16. I don't know about the rest of you, but this was one of my favorite teams. They exceeded my expectations and it's not often that KU has a team like that. KU still had MSU beat in that game, but I think most were okay with that loss simply because I think that team getting to a Sweet 16 was an accomplishment.

2010: #1 seed lost to #9 seed UNI in Second Round. After the 2008 and the 2009 seasons, I really thought Self and KU was done losing significantly lower seeds in the tournament, but this game was a stunner considering the season KU had plus the overall #1 seed.

2011: #1 seed los to #11 seed VCU in the Elite 8. At least this loss didn't occur in the second round or Sweet 16 because I really think we all would have flipped our lids. Actually, I think I'm more annoyed in the fact that KU was so close to a Final 4 yet blew it against an 11 seed VCU squad.

IMO, it's hard, but I agree with others that a trend is definitely there. I mean, 5 out Self's 8 NCAA tournaments hasn't played to their seed and 4 of those times KU has been a #1 seed. In the end, I think it's a fair argument.

HawkKlaw 9 years, 8 months ago

I see what you're saying. And I agree, to some extent. Certainly, Bill Self's KU teams have underachieved from time to time in the NCAA tourney. However, I don't believe that Bill Self is the only coach to have this happen; it happens to all schools and coaches. Only one team can win the tourney, you know. There are going to be major upsets with the "win or go home" format. That's just how it goes...

The main point I was trying to make by listing all of his accomplishments is that he is an incredibly successful coach. I mean, really, who can argue with those numbers?

Who would we rather have coaching at KU?

In my opinion, its really nit-picking to complain about Bill Self as a coach. We are always one of the best teams in the country. We are always in the hunt for the national championship. I firmly believe that 2007-08 was no fluke and that Bill Self will get back to the championship game. In 2007-08 we had a better team than this year; back then we played spectacular defense, hit most of our free throws, and on any given night anyone could lead the us to victory. This year we played mediocre (at best) defense, couldn't hit a free throw to save our lives, and the Morris twins were the main guys leading us to victory (with only a few exceptions). It just wasn't meant to be this year. The great thing about being a KU fan (especially with Bill Self as the coach) is that next year KU will undoubtedly have one of the best teams in the country and will (yet again) be in the hunt for a national championship.

So to anyone being overly critical of Bill Self, I must say, "rabble, rabble."

Jayhawk444 9 years, 8 months ago

I'm going to look at this a little differently. I believe KU has a habit of being somewhat overrated and overseeded going into the tournament. Not always, but sometimes. And I think the last two years, we were. It's hard to say this when we had 33-2 records, won the Big12 and Big12 tournaments...but take a closer look. I'll use this year as an example. We start out the year highly ranked - that always helps. We beat all our non conf opponents, some quite soundly. But we struggled some, too, in the games against worthier opponents. Look at our body of work against UCLA, Arizona, and Michigan. Did anybody consider these teams national title contenders? Yet we barely beat them all. Maybe our team was more along the level of those teams than a #2 team in the country. Maybe the Big12 was weak this year (as evidenced by the Big 12's results in the NCAAs). We lost at home to Texas, on the road at KSU. But look at some of our wins...remember Nebraska at home? Oklahoma State in the tournament? Iowa State, MU, CU on the road? Maybe we ended up with a gaudy record and a #1 seed simply because we started the season in a high position, got a couple of lucky bounces here and there, played in a weak conference, and didn't play anybody really good all season long. Maybe the real Kansas this year was the team that beat UCLA and Michigan in OT, not the team that trounced Texas in the Big12 finals. I think Kansas enjoys the benefit of being Kansas sometimes - like this year - and the result can be a disappointing ending that maybe seems more disappointing than it really should be.

AirCapJay 9 years, 8 months ago

We are all critical of Bill but I would not trade him for any other coach. Bill will eventually learn from these losses. Bill should know he needs to school himself on being a better tournament coach.

Dyrk Dugan 9 years, 8 months ago

to KULA's point above: VCU didn't play zone. in fact, when they played it...we cut it up and got easy basket. it had nothing to do with zone defense.

Yes, Bill Self has done great things at Kansas...and he will continue to do so. however, and every coach goes through this...some get it earlier than others...(Bob Knight grasped it after only one year in the tourney at IU...it took Roy forever to get it)...when you're in the tourney, you must ADJUST. it's that simple. you must re emphasize things...call a timeout sooner....play other folks....it HAS to be done. games are not movie scripts....it's not written out as a plan.

case in point: as soon as we saw VCU was going to full court press...and not be a token press on the inbounds, and then fall back...he should have called a timeout right then...and talked about press offense...put the right guys in the game...and emphasize attacking. we looked like we never saw a press before....we struggled with it all game.

the press got us sped up, and we never adjusted. so when our offense was going bad, it couldn't get us on a roll after we figured out how to guard.. (the Rams only had 32 points the last 24 minutes of the game....i'd take that pace anytime).

despite what this column said, you just can't write it off, that another team is better that day. it's unacceptable. during the regular season maybe, because you play so many games, and you play in true road games, but when you're a #1 seed, someone better play substantially better than you to claim that. we outrebounded them by 10, they scored 30 points the 2nd half, turnovers virtually even, and they were better than us today? if you would have told me those stats before the game, i'd say we win by 20 plus.

the twins should comeback for their Sr. day....Selby should be back, because he needs to be...and TT will be back..he has nowhere to go. we should be darn good again next year...with any addl. five star guys we have on the board. if everyone leaves, we'll have less than 13 guys on schollie...that's eight guys gone. and there's no way, we should have open tryouts at the university for the rest of the spots. so i expect plenty of folks to return. Go Jayhawks!

tophersdad 9 years, 8 months ago

There have been quite a few teams in the final four. There are the familiar names. Duke has been there. UNC and UCLA have cut their teeth. Kentucky has done whatever it took, through the years, to get there. Indiana is one we all know, along with Purdue, Indiana State, Notre Dame, and Butler from that state. Michigan and Michigan State are familiar with the experience. UConn seems to visit the FF often. West Virginia and Virginia have been there. Florida is a newcomer. Other visitors to the final four have been Villanova, Memphis, Ohio State, Georgetown, George Mason, LSU, and Illinois. Louisville has won it all. Georgia and Georgia Tech have been there, along with Okie State, Syracuse, Texas, Marquette, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Arizona. Wisconsin has been to the FF, as have Utah, Stanford, Minnesota, UMass, and Mississippi State. Arkansas has been there, along with Cincinnati, UNLV, Seton Hall, Providence, St. Johns, Houston, NC State, and Houston. Iowa and Iowa State have both been. Other FF visitors have been DePaul, Penn, UNC Charlotte, and Rutgers. Providence has danced in the final four. So has Florida State, Western Kentucky, Jacksonville, New Mexico State, and Saint Bonaventure? Drake went? Dayton was there. And so was the school that is now referred to as UTEP. Loyola (IL) was in the final four, as was Oregon State, St Joseph’s (of PA), Cal and NYU!! Temple has been to the final four. Seattle made it, along with San Francisco U, LaSalle, SMU, Penn State, Bradley, and COLORADO?!! Washington went to the FF. So did USC, Santa Clara, Oregon State, Baylor, Holy Cross, Dartmouth, Wyoming, Washington State, Pittsburgh, Duquesne, and the City College of New York!! OHHHH!!! And all three Kansas schoold have been there, KU, K State, and Wichita State!! And Now we welcome VCU to the list!! Please note that I did not mention any institution from the state of Missouri…

tophersdad 9 years, 8 months ago

There have been quite a few teams in the final four. There are the familiar names. Duke has been there. UNC and UCLA have cut their teeth. Kentucky has done whatever it took, through the years, to get there. Indiana is one we all know, along with Purdue, Indiana State, Notre Dame, and Butler from that state. Michigan and Michigan State are familiar with the experience. UConn seems to visit the FF often. West Virginia and Virginia have been there. Florida is a newcomer. Other visitors to the final four have been Villanova, Memphis, Ohio State, Georgetown, George Mason, LSU, and Illinois. Louisville has won it all. Georgia and Georgia Tech have been there, along with Okie State, Syracuse, Texas, Marquette, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Arizona. Wisconsin has been to the FF, as have Utah, Stanford, Minnesota, UMass, and Mississippi State. Arkansas has been there, along with Cincinnati, UNLV, Seton Hall, Providence, St. Johns, Houston, NC State, and Houston. Iowa and Iowa State have both been. Other FF visitors have been DePaul, Penn, UNC Charlotte, and Rutgers. Providence has danced in the final four. So has Florida State, Western Kentucky, Jacksonville, New Mexico State, and Saint Bonaventure? Drake went? Dayton was there. And so was the school that is now referred to as UTEP. Loyola (IL) was in the final four, as was Oregon State, St Joseph’s (of PA), Cal and NYU!! Temple has been to the final four. Seattle made it, along with San Francisco U, LaSalle, SMU, Penn State, Bradley, and COLORADO?!! Washington went to the FF. So did USC, Santa Clara, Oregon State, Baylor, Holy Cross, Dartmouth, Wyoming, Washington State, Pittsburgh, Duquesne, and the City College of New York!! OHHHH!!! And all three Kansas schools have been there, KU, K State, and Wichita State!! And Now we welcome VCU to the list!! Please note that I did not mention any institution from the state of Missouri…

Jack Wilson 9 years, 8 months ago

Appreciate the comments both ways.

So everyone knows, I want coach Self to be our coach. But I'd like coach Self to actually learn from what has happened. To look inside, to self-analyze, to get the opinions of others who have been there, and then adjust. Re-assess. Good coaches, good managers, folks that are good at things do that.

Finally, does anyone question whether the number one recruit was put in a position to succeed this season? For all of the criticism of Calipari .. interesting what he has done with freshman dominated team each of the last two seasons. Look, Self recruited Selby. He knew what he was getting (or should have known) both mentally and physically. A freshman bust. Not near the billing. TT was better his freshman season, right?

This discussion should continue. There was a nice suggestion from a very asute observer that I should "chill." I have taken a deep breath. 24 hours has done me wonders. I am curious on everyone's thoughts. I'm going to try and post something this evening ... I want to read everyone's posts in detail first on each thread, especially Jaybate's and some of the regulars.

mjprcjh0314 9 years, 8 months ago

HighElite I am just curious what else Self should have done to develop Selby, I mean I think he played every game that he was not suspended or hurt, he could just never get his rhythm and confidence going?

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 8 months ago

I think HCBS undermined Selby's confidence...you know these kids watch all these games afterward and I'm sure Selby saw BS shaking his head or putting on one of those looks that makes you wonder if you can do anything right. I even saw BS put a towel over his face after 2 quick turnovers. I see it in EJ's also, he passes up so many open shots as if he is more afraid of missing then passing. I HATE Calapari..but he knows freshman make mistakes and he allows them to do it. Who would have thought UK would be in the Final 4 back in January? But now they are ALL playing at a much higher level than the team that lost to Alabama. Calipari may be a cheat but he does a much better job w/highly ranked freshman.

741hawk 9 years, 8 months ago

Through 40 minutes of play, my only possible criticism of HCBS is that he might have used a longer bench (instead of his shortest of the season). In spite of long tourney timeouts, we chased a lot of long VCU possessions . . . combined with the emotional energy expended in a possible loss to an 11 seed!

I kept trying to think of how to change the defense, but a zone favors the three-point shot and VCU doesn't have one or two dominate players for a box and one or triangle and two.

Oh, Wise Jaybate: Agree or Disagree? Enlighten me, please.

Just one of those disappointing days. Rock Chalk.

SCHNBALL 9 years, 8 months ago

HighElite, Cal has done a great job coaching up his team, even though I hate to admit it. Did anyone watch the last 2 games, he called a timeout within 1 to 1 and 1/2 minutes of the start of the second half, yesterday they went on a 6 run after the time out. I know most people on this board can't stand they guy, but he can game coach. Elite, I would give Self the benefit of the doubt on Selby because of injuries and missing the first part of the season, both coaches are sucessfull in their own right, however I think Cal has surpassed Self when in comes to in-game coaching. If the players want to say they did not follow the scouting report, then so be it, but if you watch UK play now, everyone of their players know what is expected of each of them, and one final thought, I said yesterday this game would be won or lost in the first 8 minutes, what I meant was that if we did not control the tempo and style of play, we had a chance of losing, I still like our coach though!!

Steve Brown 9 years, 8 months ago

with 4-5 minutes left in 1st half I was yelling we lost this round, pull an ALI rope a dope and put in the scout team, complete the blowout or get some fresh legs that aren't so tight, couldn't get much worse. Play TRob, Releford, EJ, Mario and maybe Selby. Have 1st team out fresh to start the second half.

Well I can't coach and hindsight is 20.20 and I wouldn't trade HCBS for anybody.

Okay, we should have drawn NDame, was hoping for it, but we got what we got.

Ty Mar 9 years, 8 months ago

I can't understand why Releford was not in. Someone help me.

KULA 9 years, 8 months ago

Bill made the decision as soon as Travis got hurt that Brady was gonna be his 3 from there on out. And it was just when Travis was really starting to blossom.

Ty Mar 9 years, 8 months ago

He could have came in to sub for Brady while Brady got his legs back. Oh well-could've should've would've right?

JayhawkBigXII 9 years, 8 months ago

IMO, this years team won too many close games during the regular season. KU should have lost 3 or 4 more games. Ending up a lower seed in the tournament can certainly be a clear advantage to motivate. Being #1 during the regular season hasn't helped any of the teams that held the highest rating. Perhaps this years team could have won the tournament as a motivated underdog with lower expectations. I think this teams attitude and chemistry actually needed more losses during the regular season to find ultimate success in the post-season.

Jayhawk444 9 years, 8 months ago

Yep. See my post above. Our body of work against UCLA, Arizona, USC, and Michigan says we were about as good as those teams. We win the Big 12 because the Big 12 was weak this year and intimidated by "Kansas." We win some games because "Kansas" is supposed to win them. We have one superior game against Texas in the Big12 tourney and everybody thinks that is the "real Kansas." But I'm not so sure it was. It is certainly a psychological advantage we enjoy, but it doesn't help us in the NCAA tourney against a mid-major with nothing to lose. History suggests I am right.

Llatiwonk 9 years, 8 months ago

You guys probably did the best you could against a fired up underdog, especially after trash talking their friendly cross town rivals U of R. Many of them stayed and watched VCU win again. Richmond has been rocking since Sunday. "Old" VCU alum

DocBean 9 years, 8 months ago

I love Bill Self as a coach. He wasn't missing those shots out there; however, if it were Roy he would have thrown in the 2nd String with one mass substitution. He did it a lot during his time at KU. Our second string is better then VCU's first string. If they are playing well we would have won. I prefer Bill to Roy, but I think Roy's approach would have worked.

As a coach you have to figure out which of your guys is feeling it, and put them in. Our starters were off their game, you can't keep riding them and hope they get it together. I would have liked to see Travis, and Selby more.

FLJHK 9 years, 8 months ago

Ralster: very few are truly Self bashers, or wanting a new coach. Personally, I can't imagine anyone better from an overall perspective of having what it takes to be the KU coach. I'm a huge fan.

But it is a time for some soul searching, because this pattern in the tourney is too common to chalk it up as some sort of fluke or the other team just having the hot hand. As I wrote above, KU choked. After both Brady and Tyrell missed early 3 pointers, and then we clanked some free throws, I got a knot in my stomach. It was clear they were tight.

Choking is not a sin, it is not a characer flaw. It probably happens to everyone from time to time. The puzzle is finding a path out of that once it is acknowledged to be an issue.

Certainly one way is through all out knock down D, with liberal substitutions to inject energy keep up intense pressure. Offenses can and will have slumps, defense never should.

I already miss your prior avatar.

Ron Franklin 9 years, 8 months ago

Did the way the refs were calling the game possibly tighten sphincters also?

Jayandseahawk 9 years, 8 months ago

OK, last comment of the season: First, KU simply needs to make its free throws. New rule. Nobody leaves the gym without shooting 100 free throws weekly, and making 80. Develop a real killer instinct. That is, finish games, never let up, keep shooting threes, run the offense, even when we're up by 22 and the bench is cleared. Run the offense, dunk, play defense...and I know KU is a classy place, but even with 1:23 left in the game, run the offense...try to score, play the last 8 seconds like its the first 8. Stop relaxing on the court. Play like VCU, all the time. We're a great team, but teams DON'T FEAR US. They're in awe of "The PHOG", and being on TV, but once we start missing FTs and coasting, they smell blood. How many times did that happen this year? Somebody, tell me to get a life until the fall, OK? I'm taking all comers, and I can't stand it that KU is not playing anymore. It's like a bad dream, esp. for someone whose actually worn the Crimson and Blue on the field of battle (OK, it was just track and field, back in the day, but I still bleed KU blue)...

Jack Wilson 9 years, 8 months ago

Lots of discussion post-game. I wanted to summarize my thoughts and would be interested in what others have to say here. My thoughts below are related to failures in March. My assumption is that the ultimate goal is to win the national championship, and that is what you build to. For those that are happy with this season, you should read something else. A 21-point salute.

  1. Winning Every Game: I have said many times here that coach Self seems preoccupied with winning every regular season game. That may seem like a silly statement – of course he wants to win every game, right? But such an approach, as it gravitates to the extreme, can cause a coach to disregard player development, to disregard preparation for March, to focus only on the here and now without due regard to the big picture, without regard to March. That is, choosing players that he is comfortable with. Choosing players that satisfy what he needs to win the game at hand. But what does that do? That causes him to neglect those that may not serve that immediate purpose, may be more risky at the time (to win that particular game), but players that in the end, have more upside and diversity.
  2. Conservative Coach: At his heart, coach Self is perhaps the most conservative coach many of us will encounter. There is very little he has ever done than can be termed “risky” or “taking a chance.” Conservative coaches go with what they are comfortable with. They run the same schemes, they characterize their team as one thing, they stick to philosophies no matter what the group of players. Players fit their system. The don’t adapt to the players. Conservative coaches are averse to risk .. they would rather limit the downside as opposed to rolling the dice and shooting for a higher upside. This suits coach Self to a T. It is his being.
  3. Defensive Coaches Are Conservative: At the heart of his conservative nature is his defense first philosophy. It is tried, it is true. It is a simple approach. It does not require risk. The defensive coach wants to manage the game. The defensive coach does not want too many variables. If he can stop the other team, then he limits the downside. Always having a chance to win. It is Marty Schottenheimer football. It is Bill Self basketball.
  4. Coach Self Is A Conservative Defensive Coach: When you look at KU’s approach to defense, it too is a conservative approach. It does not involve risk. Those that take chances to create turnovers are many times punished. Those that work outside of the scheme don’t play. Those that fail in any aspect of the defensive philosophy receive very few minutes. Perhaps most telling is that Coach Self does not trap the short corner or the post to create a turnover. He traps it to stop a player that we can’t control. His defensive philosophy is reactionary, it does not seek to create offense, it seeks to prevent it. Unlike the pressing team, defense does not create offense.

HawkKlaw 9 years, 8 months ago

I agree, for the most part, with points 2, 3 and 4. Self is definitely a conservative defensive coach, which I think is excellent...it makes me pull my hair out less and KU usually uses defense to lead to good offense.

However, I would disagree with your first point. I've heard Self quoted in interviews after regular season games as saying that he wished certain games against difficult teams would go longer, because his team needs to be challenged. I think he is hardly concerned with winning every regular season game. I think he's more concerned with winning the Big 12 Regular Season and Tournament championships. He didn't do either his first season at KU, and I think after that he adopted the philosophy that in order to be the best in the country, you first have to be the best in your conference.

Lastly, I think HCBS does stick with a similar system from year to year (defense first, everything else will follow), but he does switch things up too. Last year, all of our offense went through Cole and Sherron. Plus, Cole just camped out under the basket on defense. This year, the entire offense went through the Morrii and we didn't have a big just waiting under the rim to block shots.In that sense, he does adapt his system to certain players, especially if they are a major part of the offense or defense.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 8 months ago

(cont) 5. Coach Self and Coach Williams Are Polar Opposites: As an aside, there is no doubt, Roy and coach Self are opposites. We have seen both of the near extremes here. Roy will just as soon shoot in the first 10 seconds of shot clock, understanding that misses are not as big of a deal because he is creating more possessions due to his up tempo style. Self cringes at that. 6. Offensive Conservatism: Coach Self is as conservative offensively as he is defensively. He feeds the post. He values every possession. He strictly constructs the movement of the ball. He flips out on every missed shot or out of control play. He has little patience for creativity. Really, his overreactions to poor shots is a reflection of his approach. He micro-manages every possession after the fact. It is about getting the perfect look. 7. Brady Morningstar: Brady became a lightning rod because he was at the heart of coach Self’s conservative philosophy when it comes to coaching. Brady was and always has been the safe choice. The guy who won’t make many mistakes, who will surely focus on his teammates, who busts his butt on defense. “Glue” some would say. Many on the other side of the Brady debate than I didn’t understand the disagreements with Brady in the lineup. Maybe they do now. The core of my position on Brady was that he did not have requisite upside to deserve his minutes. My position was always that we needed to look toward March. To develop a player that had more overall attributes. Who was more versatile and diverse. That Brady’s attributes could be replaced by someone who could do more on the court overall. Travis Releford, for example. A 6-6 3 man with excellent defensive skills, who could guard the big 3 player, one that could hit the 3, could slash to the basket, who was more athletic, who could develop into a better player by March. I also felt that we would have a game where Brady’s simple physical limitations would kill this team. VCU was it. But I was more concerned with a better VCU type team .. a top 20 caliber team that would expose him. Where a few three balls that Brady would make wouldn’t matter. Or with physical team that would overmatch him. Like Michigan St. in 2009. One might make similar arguments as they relate to Reed. But Reed was hurt, and it showed. But Reed played 34 minutes “with a rock in his shoe.” Seriously. 8. The VCU Game Was Releford’s Calling: No way I could have predicted such a perfect storm. But the VCU game was Releford’s calling. We had no one on the defensive side to match the size of their 3. We were sorely lacking in athleticism vs. their excellent athletes with Brady and an injured Tyrel. And we did not have a slasher outside of Tyshawn. Jaybate made the excellent point before the VCU game .. that Releford was made for this situation. Excellent observation. He was, and he stayed on the bench.

HawkKlaw 9 years, 8 months ago

Again, I would agree with your assessment, but Releford was hampered by injury from January through March. Sure, about the time the post-season rolled around Releford was back to 100%, but that doesn't mean he should start over Brady all the sudden. Brady was solid all season long. If anybody should have lost minutes to Releford, it was Selby.

With Tyrel being injured, I think it may have been okay to reduce his minutes and experiment with Releford a bit, but on the other hand, I don't think the post-season is a great time to be experimenting. Releford was just the odd man out this year. Next year he will be a starter, and I think he'll be great.

HawkKlaw 9 years, 8 months ago

Second Note: I do agree that Self has little patience with offensive "creativity", as you put it. He wants players to do what they practiced. If something goes wrong, he is quick to pull whoever screwed up. That is one part about Bill Self that I would criticize; let the players make mistakes and not be worried about getting benched if they do screw up.

Realistically, though, there are certain blunders where a players deserves the immediate hook.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 8 months ago

(cont) 9. Prep Needed: But was Releford ready? I say no. Releford was not as ready as he should have been. And this goes to the core of Self’s coaching approach. He disregards March for immediate gratification of a league win, or a non-con victory. He refuses to develop players. To put them in crunch time situations. To permit them to fail. To permit them to put his team in a worse position. To permit them to .. hold your breath here .. to permit them to actually cost us a win. Why should he risk a game? Very simple .. to permit them to grow as a player, and to permit him to learn who actually is the best player. Releford is a better player right now than Morningstar. Self hitched his wagon to Brady, and 32 minutes later, poof. And he hitched it to an injured Reed. Same thing. Poof. We were out-athleted by VCU. 10. This Is Easy: Anyone that thinks this is hard has simply not coached. From the little league coach that lets a kid pitch who is horrible, and lets him get experience to develop, to the high school football coach that lets the sophomore quarterback play over the senior because he has more talent and will make the team better come state playoff time, it is done all the time. It is pure fiction to think that there is some difference between D-1 basketball and other levels when it comes to commitment to developing players. The difference is pressure and level of play. How many NFL teams play the younger, inexperienced QB to get him experience, so he can take his lumps? Happens at every level. There is pressure to win. And whether a coach .. coach Self .. is willing to stomach the risk associated with such an approach. Coach Self would still be playing Brett Favre and would not have switched to Aaron Rodgers.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 8 months ago

(cont) 9. Prep Needed: But was Releford ready? I say no. Releford was not as ready as he should have been. And this goes to the core of Self’s coaching approach. He disregards March for immediate gratification of a league win, or a non-con victory. He refuses to develop players. To put them in crunch time situations. To permit them to fail. To permit them to put his team in a worse position. To permit them to .. hold your breath here .. to permit them to actually cost us a win. Why should he risk a game? Very simple .. to permit them to grow as a player, and to permit him to learn who actually is the best player. Releford is a better player right now than Morningstar. Self hitched his wagon to Brady, and 32 minutes later, poof. And he hitched it to an injured Reed. Same thing. Poof. We were out-athleted by VCU. 10. This Is Easy: Anyone that thinks this is hard has simply not coached. From the little league coach that lets a kid pitch who is horrible, and lets him get experience to develop, to the high school football coach that lets the sophomore quarterback play over the senior because he has more talent and will make the team better come state playoff time, it is done all the time. It is pure fiction to think that there is some difference between D-1 basketball and other levels when it comes to commitment to developing players. The difference is pressure and level of play. How many NFL teams play the younger, inexperienced QB to get him experience, so he can take his lumps? Happens at every level. There is pressure to win. And whether a coach .. coach Self .. is willing to stomach the risk associated with such an approach. Coach Self would still be playing Brett Favre and would not have switched to Aaron Rodgers.

HawkKlaw 9 years, 8 months ago

I disagree on these points. As soon as the NCAA allowed Selby to play, Self had him in the lineup. And if you will recall, Selby played a lot of minutes at first. Then, when it became apparent that he was in a slump (and after he got injured), Self reduced his minutes. I think most coaches would have done that. Its not like Selby never saw the court; rather, he didn't make the most of his opportunities.

Look at last year - Xavier was not one of our top 5 players (IMO), and he started about every game. Bill Self gave him plenty of opportunities to develop. I honestly think the only reason Selby saw less and less time on the court as the season progressed this year is because he just couldn't shake his slump. I guarantee that if Selby had played better in games and in practice, he would have started over Brady or Tyrel. Next year Selby will get well-deserved playing time if he stays at KU.

And about Releford: You say he wasn't ready because Self didn't develop him. That's not why he wasn't ready. Releford did get in the rotation from time to time before he got injured in January. After that he never worked his way back into the rotation, mainly due to the fact that his injury nagged him throughout the conference play, which forced Self to use other players. Our team was heavy on guards this season: TT, EJ, Brady, Tyrel, Selby, Little...not everyone is going to make it into the main rotation. HCBS doesn't use a rotation of 10 guys; he keeps his rotation at 8 or 9 players.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 8 months ago

(cont) 9. Prep Needed: But was Releford ready? I say no. Releford was not as ready as he should have been. And this goes to the core of Self’s coaching approach. He disregards March for immediate gratification of a league win, or a non-con victory. He refuses to develop players. To put them in crunch time situations. To permit them to fail. To permit them to put his team in a worse position. To permit them to .. hold your breath here .. to permit them to actually cost us a win. Why should he risk a game? Very simple .. to permit them to grow as a player, and to permit him to learn who actually is the best player. Releford is a better player right now than Morningstar. Self hitched his wagon to Brady, and 32 minutes later, poof. And he hitched it to an injured Reed. Same thing. Poof. We were out-athleted by VCU. 10. This Is Easy: Anyone that thinks this is hard has simply not coached. From the little league coach that lets a kid pitch who is horrible, and lets him get experience to develop, to the high school football coach that lets the sophomore quarterback play over the senior because he has more talent and will make the team better come state playoff time, it is done all the time. It is pure fiction to think that there is some difference between D-1 basketball and other levels when it comes to commitment to developing players. The difference is pressure and level of play. How many NFL teams play the younger, inexperienced QB to get him experience, so he can take his lumps? Happens at every level. There is pressure to win. And whether a coach .. coach Self .. is willing to stomach the risk associated with such an approach. Coach Self would still be playing Brett Favre and would not have switched to Aaron Rodgers.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 8 months ago

(cont) 11. Boxscores: The boxscore tells everything. Find me an example of a comparable boxscore to the VCU game this season. Where the starters all play 32+ minutes. Unbelievable. The only comparable boxscore is the Texas game in KC, but Kieff played only 22 minutes. Those that say coach Self choked are being harsh. And that is somewhat of an inflammatory word. But find a better one. Coach Self’s handling of substitutions, his reversion to conservatism, his constriction of the rotation, demonstrates what occurred. He got way tight. He got taken out of his normal game. He panicked. His thought processes were affected by the sheer enormity of the situation. The word is choke. Do you think the players sensed that? It is no different than Reed and Morningstar and their shooting. The enormity of the situation got the better of them. It is no different than Sherron and Tyshawn vs. UNI. Substituting as you have before, liberal use of subs, permits your starters to relax on the bench. To refocus. It is coaching 101. Sorry for those that think Self is God, but he blew it. Your high school basketball coach will tell you the same thing. And sometimes, you catch lightning in a bottle with the subs. They have to have the chance. Self tightened up in a tight game. 12. EJ: Elijah Johnson is another example that demonstrates Self’s choke. Think about all the praise. Think about every positive thing Self said about EJ down the stretch. Think about EJ’s play, and his defense. Self’s words meant nothing. And I predicted it. It was all talk. I predicted it because I know Self. In the end, Self reverted to his security blankets .. Reed, Morningstar, and Taylor. EJ played a total of 6 minutes vs. VCU (and 4 minutes vs. Texas). A 40% 3 point shooter. 6 freaking minutes. A guy who could give us a different look. But no. Too risky. Did anyone notice that neither Reed, nor Brady, wanted to shoot in the last 3 minutes? 13. Ego: Most of us give coach Self a free pass. He’s our guy. But tell me when you have heard him ever take the blame? Wouldn’t it have been nice to hear him get to the podium and say that it was his fault (whether it was or not)? To say that he didn’t have his team prepared. That he was the one who was ultimately responsible. Again, whether true or untrue. What we heard is coach Self saying our transition defense was poor, etc. That is disappointing. Be a man.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 8 months ago

(cont) 14. Preparation/Being Tight: Let’s get right to this .. was this team prepared for VCU? Obviously not. And this goes to two levels. First, was our gameplan and prep solid? I don’t know. All I know is that VCU was not a mystery. Watch them play. But there is no way of knowing if the players were properly prepped on the X’s and O’s. My guess is that they were. But why did VCU get so many open opportunities? Guys, VCU shot less than 40% from the field. It’s not like they pulled a Villanova on Georgetown. Did you notice that .. less than 40%. Guess what … UNI shot a measly 40%, too. But more importantly, second, were we mentally prepared .. I mean emotionally ready? No way. This goes back to Bucknell, this goes back to Bradley, this goes back to Davidson, this goes back to UNI, this goes back to Boston U., and this ruined our season vs. VCU. For whatever reason, coach Self creates a tightness in his teams in situations where they should win. We see it in the regular season. We see it in the well accepted characteristic of Self’s teams .. we play down to our opponent. That is a coaching characteristic, too. We blow out UNC days after nearly choking one off vs. Davidson. Sure, there are exceptions. We pummeled Richmond, right? All I know is that there is a clear and undeniable pattern. And coach Self’s teams play down to their opponents. And guess what, they play up to opponents, too. That tells me something. It is coaching. 15. A Coach’s Job: It is a coach’s job to have his team ready. To create loose play. You hear about coaches who have the kids play a touch football game, or who play an X-box tournament, or who go spit off a bridge into the river, who do something to get their minds off of the situation. To relax them. What did coach Self do? He put copies of the UNI Sports Illustrated in their lockers. Absolutely stupid move. Sorry, but dumb as dirt. You have inspired constriction and worry. Look, if you have a team that is a focused team, who has blinders, who is mentally tough, who are men .. the UNI Sports Illustrated could be a focuser. But you don’t. You have a team that is not mentally tough to begin with, that has multiple mental blunders from DUIs, to girl friend flaps, to assaults, to stupid tweets, to fights with the football team, to things going on under the bleachers at Allen, to dumb elbows, etc. And you have a team that is comprised totally, but for Selby, of guys who yacked it last season vs. UNI, right? I remember Quinn Snyder saying that he couldn’t coach effort. Amazing. This is amazing too. Coach Self has failed multiple times in simply relaxing his team. The proof is not in the loss. The proof is in who we have lost to, how. Any difference between UNI and VCU? Poor shooting to the degree we saw in both games just doesn’t happen. It is created, or inspired. On the cusp of the final four, the great 2008 team played tight as a drum vs. Davidson. One shot away from another collapse, but it didn’t go in.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 8 months ago

(cont) 14. Preparation/Being Tight: Let’s get right to this .. was this team prepared for VCU? Obviously not. And this goes to two levels. First, was our gameplan and prep solid? I don’t know. All I know is that VCU was not a mystery. Watch them play. But there is no way of knowing if the players were properly prepped on the X’s and O’s. My guess is that they were. But why did VCU get so many open opportunities? Guys, VCU shot less than 40% from the field. It’s not like they pulled a Villanova on Georgetown. Did you notice that .. less than 40%. Guess what … UNI shot a measly 40%, too. But more importantly, second, were we mentally prepared .. I mean emotionally ready? No way. This goes back to Bucknell, this goes back to Bradley, this goes back to Davidson, this goes back to UNI, this goes back to Boston U., and this ruined our season vs. VCU. For whatever reason, coach Self creates a tightness in his teams in situations where they should win. We see it in the regular season. We see it in the well accepted characteristic of Self’s teams .. we play down to our opponent. That is a coaching characteristic, too. We blow out UNC days after nearly choking one off vs. Davidson. Sure, there are exceptions. We pummeled Richmond, right? All I know is that there is a clear and undeniable pattern. And coach Self’s teams play down to their opponents. And guess what, they play up to opponents, too. That tells me something. It is coaching. 15. A Coach’s Job: It is a coach’s job to have his team ready. To create loose play. You hear about coaches who have the kids play a touch football game, or who play an X-box tournament, or who go spit off a bridge into the river, who do something to get their minds off of the situation. To relax them. What did coach Self do? He put copies of the UNI Sports Illustrated in their lockers. Absolutely stupid move. Sorry, but dumb as dirt. You have inspired constriction and worry. Look, if you have a team that is a focused team, who has blinders, who is mentally tough, who are men .. the UNI Sports Illustrated could be a focuser. But you don’t. You have a team that is not mentally tough to begin with, that has multiple mental blunders from DUIs, to girl friend flaps, to assaults, to stupid tweets, to fights with the football team, to things going on under the bleachers at Allen, to dumb elbows, etc. And you have a team that is comprised totally, but for Selby, of guys who yacked it last season vs. UNI, right? I remember Quinn Snyder saying that he couldn’t coach effort. Amazing. This is amazing too. Coach Self has failed multiple times in simply relaxing his team. The proof is not in the loss. The proof is in who we have lost to, how. Any difference between UNI and VCU? Poor shooting to the degree we saw in both games just doesn’t happen. It is created, or inspired. On the cusp of the final four, the great 2008 team played tight as a drum vs. Davidson. One shot away from another collapse, but it didn’t go in.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 8 months ago

  1. Selby: Without a single doubt in my mind, Self completely mismanaged Josh Selby. Top player coming in .. at least top 10 .. and this is all you get from him? Look, the guy you saw vs. USC was Josh Selby. Until Self deconstructed him. That was not what he wanted. Coach Self did not want a go-to guy. Self destroyed him. Why? Because he threatened his system. This is subject to debate, of course. I am sorry, but what fool plays Brady Morningstar over Josh Selby? Only one. You find a place for Selby. You don’t find reasons not to play him. And you can point to Selby’s play, or a turnover, or whatever. But I can point to the fact that only one coach coached Selby this season .. Bill Self. Look at Calipari. Look what he has done with freshmen. Many of them. Back to some topics above, he gave Selby little chance to develop, was impatient, benched him multiple times … why? Because Selby didn’t fit into the little box Self had premade for him. Selby was much like the Army recruit who is torn down, to be built in the mold of the system … but Selby was never rebuilt. He remained torn down. The results are undeniable.
  2. Final Fours: One final four in 8 seasons. Think about that. Coach Self has coached us to 4 number one seeds. 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. Amazing regular season feats. But only one ended in a final four. North Carolina has had 13 number one seeds and 8 reached the final four. Duke has had 12, and 6 reached the final four. Kentucky 4 of 10 #1 seeds. Self, 1 of 4. Percentages aren’t even close.
  3. Patterns: Look at our losses with the four number one seeds in Self’s tenure. With two, we lost in the elite 8. And with one, we lost in the round of 32. But look at our losses. Against UCLA, we score a season low 55 points in 2007. Against UNI, we score our second lowest point total of the season. Against VCU, we score our season low point total. And just for fun, we scored our season low point total vs. Davidson in the 2010 Elite 8. Patterns mean something. This pattern means something. It is the second game of a weekend in each case. But why the low point totals? We know why. Don’t we? Coach Self creates tightness, or a lack of “looseness.”

Jack Wilson 9 years, 8 months ago

(cont) 19. Proof In The Pudding: The best example is the Boston U. game. Seriously, Boston U. was a pud team. Sad. And we lead by four at half? And our players say they were tight coming in. See the stupid use of the UNI Sports Illustrated cover, for example. And Coach Self acts dumbfounded, insisting “they said they were loose.” And acting like he didn’t understand. This, my friends, is a flaw. Couple that with is inability or unwillingness to prepare his team with eye on March, not an eye on winning every regular season game, and you have an Achilles’ heel. 20. In sum, we have a coach who is fanatically focused on winning every regular season game; who values lack of negative over potential upside; who refuses to adequately develop his talent with an eye toward March; who when March arrives is unable to relax his team; and who when March arrives becomes tight himself in the manner in which he handles the team. Couple that with a coach that refuses to take any blame for the failures, and you have … VCU, Bucknell, Bradley, UNI … one final four in 8 seasons. And only one final four to show for 4 number one seeds. 21. Note: Reminder, we are Kansas. We aren’t Pitt getting a number one seed, or Ohio St., or Wake Forest, or some other non-Elite program. We are to be judged in the same breath with the Dukes, the North Carolinas, the Kentuckys. If your goals are mediocre, your achievements will be mediocre. We are an elite program .. you become elite by the final four banners you hang. That is how elite is defined. And National Championships. We can’t just enjoy the ride. For if we do, we are no longer Elite.

KULA 9 years, 8 months ago

Good post. You elaborated on a lot of things I touched on earlier today (and for the last two seasons). I'll just repeat what I consider to be the most important points. 1. Bill Self wasted valuable game situation minutes, of which he probably had more of than any other coach (highest average margin of victory) by not developing his younger players, both this year and last. EJ, TRob & Withey didn't even get off the bench the last six weeks of the season last year. Would've been nice to get 5-8 minutes from each of them against UNI. Same thing with Mario, Travis, EJ & Withey this year. All those minutes earlier in the season with 20 pt leads, but no PT for those guys. Bill Self totally screwed Mario. Pushing him out of position (to give Brady more minutes), and thereby screwing Withey out of PT. You know Mario could score because he was the national player of the year in Junior college. And he didn't get that award for his defense.
2. Bill's coaching philosophy emphasizes negative reinforcement for failure over positive reinforcement for success. This breeds players who are always looking over their shoulder to the bench, afraid to take a chance, to shoot the big shot at crunch time. VCU's & Butler's & UNI's & Kentucky's players aren't afraid to take the big shot. Bill seems to want to convince his players that they're not that good, and in crunch time, they all look like they think they're not good enough to take the shot. And when he totally breaks them down, they think it's their fault they lost. Just like Aaron & Wayne did in 05.
3. Bill Self is a choker. Btw, I couldn't help but notice the appropriateness of the name Morningstar. Shines brightly for a short time, never rises too high, fades quickly and early. No malice, just couldn't resist.

HawkKlaw 9 years, 8 months ago

To your last point: I don't think being elite is based solely on Final Four banners. That is a part of it, but so is winning regular season conference championships, conference tournament championships, the national championship, etc. Look at all the things Bill Self has done for KU. KU is elite because of Bill Self.

brgregory 9 years, 8 months ago

I don't mean to hate but as an alum from out-of-state I was looking for some deeper insight. This reads like an elementary school book report of the game.

On a lighter note: “They weren’t throwing up those shots,” Selby said. “They were shooting those shots..." -This would probably hold up in any court of law as expert testimony

FLJHK 9 years, 8 months ago

HEM:

Wow. Your analysis is brilliant. I don't necessarily agree with all of your perspectives, but I respect them immensely. Your basketball knowledge is impressive and beyond my abiltiy to challenge. Too, I appreciate that you do this not as a Self basher, but as someone truly intersted in seeing KU hoops ascend to a higher level.

While I might respect regular season successes more than you, I agree that they are subservient to post season performance, i.e. the NCAA tourney. I hope that Coach Self respects that more in years to come.

Anyway, at this late hour I just want to thank you for your insight and energy. It is very much appreciated and respected.

FLJHK 9 years, 8 months ago

The only reason I am on this site at this late hour is because it takes me some time to get over a loss like yesterday's.

As an aside, my daughter, a high school senior, was recently offered a $30,000/year scholarship to the University of Arizona. (Her intellect was obviously due to the DNA of her mom). I had to mention to my daughter, who has zero interest in sports in general, and even less in KU hoops, of the 1997 game between Kansas and Arizona. She asked me how long it took to get over such losses. I told her I'd have to let her know, because it clearly hasn't happen yet.

RCJH

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