Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Jayhawks regroup after loss to ISU


Kansas University’s 15 basketball players have yet to experience back-to-back losses during their college careers.

In fact, the Jayhawks, who fell to Iowa State, 72-64 on Saturday, have gone 225 games without consecutive defeats — the longest active streak in Div. I — entering today’s Big 12 battle against Oklahoma (8 p.m., Allen Fieldhouse). Duke has put together the second-longest streak at 110 games without back-to-back L’s.

“We know we can’t make one game turn into two,” KU junior forward Travis Releford said. “It’s something we’ve always been going by. Once we lose a game, we go from there.”

The Jayhawks had been able to string together 10 victories following a loss to Davidson on Dec. 19.

“I thought our Davidson loss probably helped us for at least a month,” said KU coach Bill Self. His Jayhawks enter 17-4, 7-1; OU is 13-7, 3-5. “We need the Iowa State loss to be a reminder of ‘When we do things a certain way, we are pretty good and when we don’t, we aren’t nearly as good.’ A loss in football can be totally demoralizing if it happens at the wrong time of the year. We are not that way at all. We have 10 more games to play, plenty of time to get right.”

KU, which was outrebounded by ISU, 36-23, vows to do a better job on the boards.

“When you say, ‘the way we rebounded Saturday,’ that would be inaccurate,” Self said, “because we didn’t rebound a lick on Saturday.”

Individually? Self has said only Tyshawn Taylor (16 points, 10 assists) had a decent stat line versus ISU. Junior forward Thomas Robinson scored 13 points off 5-of-11 shooting with seven rebounds.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong. I don’t think he had one of his better games,” Self said. “We’re going to force-feed it to him over the next week or two to get him where he knows that (inside) is where his bread is buttered and be confident about it. Bouncing it in traffic and those sorts of things when you should rely on your go-to move to score is something he can get better at and will get better at.”

Senior guard Conner Teahan (three points, 1-6 from three vs. ISU) has hit seven threes in 35 tries over seven games.

“I hope he’s confident. He’s not made shots lately,” Self said. “I’m a big believer if you have to make shots in order to play well, you are probably not a complete player. Guys have different roles. One of his roles for us is to be a threat and knock down shots, but that doesn’t happen all the time. He has to find other ways to help us, which he will. He is more a basketball player than just a shooter.”

Noted Teahan: “I feel I’ve been getting more open looks during my slump than I was when I was shooting the ball well.”

Teahan said technically he may be “fading a bit. I wasn’t able to get in a rhythm. I need to get on the glass more. Coach has said if I focus on other things maybe the shot will start to fall, which is a good plan.”

First meeting: KU overcame a 34-33 halftime deficit to beat OU, 72-61, Jan. 7 in Norman. Releford scored a career-high 28 points while Robinson had 18 points and nine rebounds. OU’s Steven Pledger and Romero Osby had 14 and nine points respectively. OU is coming off a 63-60 win on Saturday at Kansas State. Pledger, a 6-4 junior who averages 17.8 ppg, scored 30 at K-State.

“We never had a guy go to Manhattan and put 30 on the board, the way they guard,” Self said. “He’s capable of scoring on anybody.”

No looking ahead: This game precedes Saturday’s 8 p.m. battle at Missouri.

“We can’t worry about Missouri because if we do, then Oklahoma is going to walk right in here and steal a win,” Releford said.

Releford sprained his left wrist about two weeks ago. “It’s been sore throughout the season. I’ve been fine,” Releford said.

Self praised: The Big 12 supervisor of officials, Curtis Shaw, commented on Self’s assisting ref Darron George after George was trampled in the court-storming incident Saturday at ISU. George cut his hand and chipped a bone in his knuckle.

“We have conference policies on security, but at times they are difficult to enforce,” Shaw told the Journal-World. “The enthusiasm of students is understandable and we appreciate that. I want to thank coach Self for making sure that Darron was OK. This was the losing coach, but says a lot about coach Self and who he is. He and the University of Kansas have been very instrumental and supportive of our officiating program, and I appreciate their overall support and coach Self’s personal care and professionalism.”

KU AD Sheahon Zenger on Monday received an e-mail from the Big 12 office lauding Self.

“Bill is not only a great coach. We know he’s a great person,” Zenger said. “He’s so likeable and easy to be around, but some people don’t know deep down inside how caring he really is. He cares about people.”

Records: Self is 9-3 versus OU, including a 9-1 mark while at KU. Former K-State guard and current Sooners coach Lon Kruger is 5-11 against KU, 0-1 at OU.


Bion Ostrander 9 years, 2 months ago

Noted Teahan: “I feel I’ve been getting more open looks during my slump than I was when I was shooting the ball well.”

Duh, heck yes teams will leave you open when you can't hit anything! I hope CT is smart enough to know that. Teams will keep packing it inside until KU gets someone else besides TT to hit from the outside.

CT was 1 for 7 against ISU, and 0 for 6 on 3-pointers. CT needs to shoot a few 2-pointers, some stickbacks, and find other ways to score to get his confidence back. Pretty much all of the KU guards need to do that (except TT is already doing that).

I really despise the over-reliance on the 3-point shot, and players like CT and EJ that always position themselves behind the 3-point line, even if they could move in 5 feet or more due to defenses sagging in on TRob and Withey. I say go with the law of averages.

KU will beat Oklahoma, but that is not much indication that KU has made progress with outside shooting and offensive rebounding, because KU usually shoots better at AFH when it usually has more energy. The true test of improved outside shooting, rebounding, and energy will come on the road against Mizzou, Baylor and KSU.

I hope HCBS experiments with a few new wrinkles against OU, it may be time to try a few different things - - find some extra minutes for Young and Lindsay to get them some confidence and don't yank them immediately for turnovers.

If KU gets a bigger lead, maybe Self will have the luxury of sitting EJ and TR on the bench to give them some motivation to keep their starting roles.

Maybe move TRob and Withey away from the basket more often (especially if OU is packing it in), to open it up inside for more dribble-drives, pull-up 2-point shots by the guards, or dish offs to the big guys.

After watching KSU and ISU last night, it pains me to acknowledge that at this point of the year KSU has more depth, more outside shooting options, and more guards that drive it to the budket, compared to KU's lauded recruits.

Go Hawks.

zsn 9 years, 2 months ago

My initial thought on reading the CT quote was a bit more colorful (along the lines of "No Sh!t Sherlock") but I think we can go with your take. We need the anti-JRGiddens vaccine, pronto.

Martin Shupert 9 years, 2 months ago

The problem with your law of averages is, you're comparing shots worth 2 points to shots worth 3. Do you really think CT's 15 foot shot will be that much more effective? If he took 10 15 foot shots and hit 5 of them, that's 10 points. Okay, but I seriously doubt he makes 5 of them in the first place. When you're in a slump, you can miss from anywhere. If you hit 3 treys, you have nine. I'm thinking it's more realistic to bet on CT hitting 3 treys than 5 fifteen footers... even in the slump.

Trey Hohman 9 years, 2 months ago

Dear Mizzery fan: Keep your eyes peeled for Bill Self this Saturday night. He’ll be the one looking like a comic book Godzilla monster walking around rural Missouri. Dude’s all Marlboro Man whose brain's roughly the size of an NFL offensive lineman----makes you feel like one of the Seven Dwarfs. He also don’t give two shts about any world you happen to be inhabiting, and can endure pain like a **damn stoic Apache. Bury any man alive, then strike a match and score two points for getting even.

KU 88 - OU 70 KU 77 -- MU 71.

Bion Ostrander 9 years, 2 months ago

Ihoh..don't have my magic decoder ring for any of your spewing....but I think you just insulted HCBS. Lets see, the Marlboro Man is dead because he was not wise enough to stop smoking and smoking don't equate to toughness in my book, I don't equate NFL OL as being rocket scientists with big brains, and when was the last Apache that endured any pain - - or do you mean the pain that comes with gambling on an Indian reservation casino...

HCBS is a stud, we all know that.

My point is, I don't think the Jayhawks primary problems right now are due to HCBS and they may not be directly fixable by him. HCBS can't shoot the 3's that CT, EJ and TR are missing and he can't get on the boards and get some offensive rebounds (KU had 3 offensive boards during the entire ISU game, two of ISU's subs off the bench had a total of 3 rebounds...the same amount as KU's entire team for the game). And he can't force the team to play with energy.

Teams will keep packing it inside against KU until the outside shooting gets better, and only the players can control that - - although I would argue that CT, EJ and TR should dribble-drive and create better 2-point pull-up jump shots instead of settling for 3-pointers.

Nathan Scholl 9 years, 2 months ago

Yeah, I think in HIS mind, it was a Bill Self love fest.

Brianna Zaleski 9 years, 2 months ago

What I've found in my limited playing days of competitive basketball, is that when your shot isn't falling, go do some other things. Go play some really good, tight defense. Get in the passing lanes and tip a couple of passes; one is bound to lead to a layup. Go get some really important rebounds. Sometimes you get so hung up on the fact that your shot is not falling that you let that affect all the other many aspects of the game.
I know this must be stating the "flipping obvious", but the point is: go out there and play hard. Good things tend to happen when you exert maximum effort. On the basketball court or in life, good things happen when you play hard.

rick cowley 9 years, 2 months ago

The best way for a shooter to get his confidence back is to get to the foul line make a few easy ones. JaCovan Brown from Texas did that the last game against KU. Shot wasn't falling at all early so he started driving more, got some foul shots in, then went back outside. Conner does not have the same kind of ability as JaCovan Brown, but he could take a few mid-range shots to get going if not driving all the way to the basket.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 2 months ago

Zig, I'm actually looking forward to seeing you go attack "The End" guy some posts below this. Go get em' Zig!

SDSurferFan 9 years, 2 months ago

He is more a basketball player than just a shooter.-BS

Let's see it Teehan.

jhox 9 years, 2 months ago

Coach Self earned big brownie points helping out that official after he was part of the unit that called only 4 second half fouls on ISU. Maybe we'll get a little more love from the officiating crew at MU on Saturday?

We can only hope...

Jack Wilson 9 years, 2 months ago

Quoting Bob Knight here .. use the shot fake. Folks make fun of Knight because he is so one-track on his comments. But I wonder why? One of the best coaches of all time. The shot fake creates.

A shooter in a slump is still a shooter. Defenses will come at him on the shot. Make the shot fake, draw the foul. Make the shot fake, put the ball on the floor -- leads to a mid-range jumper, the opportunity to dish when the defense collapses, or sometimes that clear path to the bucket.

But also .. as pointed out by other posters here .. perhaps move off of the that corner shot. That might be on the coaching staff a bit. See if they an move him to get a 45 degree angle from the wing or up top to help alleviate the alleged slump.

I fall in the camp that Teahan isn't really in a slump. He shot 36% from 3 range before the ISU game. In his previous three season, he shot (you guessed it) .. 36%. Lots of guys are great shooters in practice. Pre-ISU, he would need to go something like 40 of 80 the rest of the way to get over 40%. We don't even need that. We just need him to go 3 of 5 of 4 of 6 in the bigger games. He can go 0-4 vs. OU.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 2 months ago

Oops, didn't see your post HEM! We are on Par with the same thoughts! Well done! You never responded to Self's quote yesterday about the bench and future recruiting. I figured of all would have gotten the kick out of that the most.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 2 months ago

Yes, that was interesting .. I did find it entertaining. He didn't want this situation. My guess is it will never happen again.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 2 months ago

I really like coach Knight. Grumpy, know it all, arrogant, condescending, my way or the highway, national titles, disciplinarian, old school -- but what we don't hear all the time is how loyal and helpful he is to former players. The perfect coach.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 2 months ago

Those of you who saw the "We are Mizzou" is the rebuttal......"We are KU!" This was put up last night on youtube.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 2 months ago

Another Spielberg/Lucas joint production. Pretty friggin' hilarious!!

Chris Shaw 9 years, 2 months ago

Holy Cow! I just watched it again and when I viewed it last night...........there was only like 300 views and now there is over 60,000! Wow!

Chris Shaw 9 years, 2 months ago

"That makes sense because they are a state in the South"! LMAO! Dead Silence afterwards! Muck Fizzou!

Chris Shaw 9 years, 2 months ago

Some things I would like to see in tonight's OU game:

1) Fun! I want to see Downtown Triple Treyhan having some fun and enjoying himself on the court. The same can be said about EJ! Those are two guys I would like to see whether or not they have some canines or not.

You could maybe put T-Rob in this category! He's always a rock, but he seems to be "Pressing" just a tad in the last few games! Have fun fellas!

2) I have said all year that if this team limits their 3 point attempts (15 or less per game IMO) than this team has a pretty clean statistically all the way through. With that said, if Conner and EJ are misfiring on a couple early shots..........I would like to see a couple of pump fakes and setting somebody else up or simply trying to get a foul in the pain from somebody. To be quite honestly, I wouldn't mind seeing a turnover or two possibly from EJ or Conner in the paint trying to make something happen.

3) Based on Self's quotes yesterday I would like to see some momentum or confidence building in some manner from KY and Tharpe. Mizzou is a pretty fierce environment for a freshman so I don't see it happening there based on Self's history, but it would be nice to see those two guys have some good plays go their way without thinking.

4) I just want to see TT, Withey, and Relly continue to do what their doing! I would like to see just a tad more offensively from Relly, but really no complaints from those 3 lately.

Let's get this done tonight, focus on "Our Stuff" as Self says, be efficient getting the "W", and move on to the Tiggers! Go Jayhawks!

Tony Bandle 9 years, 2 months ago

Are you the poster formerly known as kushaw??? If you are, my apologies for thinking that you were dead. :)

Chris Shaw 9 years, 2 months ago

Alive and well, Oakville! No longer anonymous! :)

Kye Clark 9 years, 2 months ago

Oak I've been trying to tell you that for the past two days! LOL

Jack Wilson 9 years, 2 months ago

Man, and here I was thinking he was soobawls reincarnated, minus the crack cocaine, and with a more agreeable demeanor.

REHawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Perhaps when Self jaws at officials in the near future, he should wave at them a copy of Cuirtis Shaw's accolades! Tell 'em, "Hey, I'm not Bobby Knight, attacking your backsides. I'm one of the deserving good guys!" Speaking of Knight, I concur that he is right on about the power of that pump fake, dribble and pop. Time to get better production from our hapless 3 pt. gunners.

Scott Oswalt 9 years, 2 months ago

I want to see the guys have FUN tonight. The past 4 games, they've been lackluster and flat. How about some high flying dunks. Maybe Releford can bust out that windmill again. Maybe TRob can posterize an OU player like Blake Griffin did a couple nights ago. KU needs to punch OU in the mouth to send a message to the Big 12. The conference runs through Larryville until proven otherwise. Lets play a clean, mistake free game and have FUN doing it! Beak Em'

Tony Bandle 9 years, 2 months ago

Just win, baby....just win!!!

In honor of Bill Murray and Groundhog Day tomorrow, beat the bejeesus of Oklahoma tonight and then we will relive it again as we beat the bejeesus out of Misery on Saturday!!

Ron Franklin 9 years, 2 months ago

That's a beautiful site down there! One of my most fondest memories is running around in that court with my friends trying to hit balls off our hips!!

Chris Shaw 9 years, 2 months ago

Well done Slayr! That is the exact word I was looking for up above.............."Swagger". Some kids have it, some kids don't, but it's never ever too late to attain it! Go get you some "Swagger" CT and have some fun while doing it!

theend 9 years, 2 months ago

I would expect KU to go about .500 the rest of rthe season.....and win 2 games in the Big 12 tournement. I think in March they could be a real wildcard and go far .....who knows?

I'm thinking the Big 12 will go to Mizzou or Baylor.....From looking at the rest of the schedule....I just don't see us getting another Big 12 title. I'm not trying to be negetive....just realistic. I truly hope I'm wrong and eat crow.

We can't win it every single year.....and this time the talent just isn't there. But in March.....who knows? We may get favorable seeding and match up well vs other teams. You never know.....look at 1988.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 2 months ago

You actually think Kansas will lose the rest of their road games or actually lose at home??? They've got 6 on the road and 5 at home. 8-3, at the worst, my friend

theend 9 years, 2 months ago

I hope I'm wrong.....but yes I do see KU possibly losing at home to Mizzou.....maybe even another home loss. The talent is pretty slim this year. But it's all long as we make it into March Madness.

theend 9 years, 2 months ago

I would expect MU to win in Columbia and KU to win in Lawrence.

Regardless....I think it's a shame that the rvialry is coming to an end.

jaybate 9 years, 2 months ago

"KU vs. OU, or How Much Amping and How Much Subbing and a Huge Digression into Wooden"

Self has already made clear that the solution to KU's ISU loss and recent blahs, is more energy and "force feeding" Thomas Robinson.

Still, Self has two major decisions to make, as he does every game during conference season with 3 games in an 8 day stretch.

  1. To amp, or not to amp; that is the question?

Some board rats doubt Self amps his teams for certain games and sends them out for others. They think KU's great performances, and clinkers, are random events. Not.

A great coach has a thermostat on the energy he exudes. His energy is contagious. No great basketball coach is ever dull in a situation where basketball is involved. Some can be quite sedate, almost meek outside the sport, like Wooden. Or they can be 24/7 gregarious and energetic like a Jim Valvano. But they all share a laser like focus and energy the minute a round leather ball, a ring of iron, and shellacced wood are at hand.

A great coach can keep his energy thermostat higher on average than can lesser coaches, but he still understands that he can exhaust his players with his intensity and enthusiasm. This coaching energy can be focused on getting better, or it can be turned on emotionally tearing down a player in order to rebuild him. It can be focused on almost anything to do with the game.

Much of the season, a great coach's energy thermostat is focused on getting better and on encouraging fundamentals, on practicing well so you play well, on team work, on execution--the foundations of great team basketball.

But for games, some or occasionally all of this energy gets focused into leading his team up onto an edge of what Wooden called "competitive greatness." Wooden had more contagious energy than any two human beings I have met before or since. I have not met Bill Self, but he seems to possess some of it also.

Wooden could have walked into a second grade class, if he had wanted to, and turned them into a band of razor edged fanatics thinking it could ace any test three grade levels above them.

jaybate 9 years, 2 months ago

But Wooden, and all great coaches, understand that making people think they can do things at a high level is nothing without the conditioning, mastery of fundamentals, and training in teamwork and team play that is foundation from which belief in one's abilities can take those abilities to the highest level of their performance.

If you look at Wooden's pyramid of success, it is a grade level blue print, for the things you have to do to prepare a team to regularly be ready to receive a great coaches contagious energy, when they are already near the top of the pyramid on a daily basis.

Significantly, competitive greatness was the cap stone of the pyramid, not the foundation, but even competitive greatness was not the final edge. Up and down the pyramid, its sides are sealed in cover stones that contain and protect the pyramid, and refine it into its perfect form. At the very top two cover stones join and rest atop the cap stone of competitive greatness. They are "faith" and "patience."

Now, do you understand the profound significance of the one word Self chose to emphasize to his beleaguered players late in the 2008 NCAA Finals?


They had been patient. They had kept fighting. They had shown competitive greatness. The team had all of the building blocks of the pyramid under it at that moment. All they needed to do was one thing. Believe.

It was a great moment in coaching. Had Self uttered any other word than that one at that moment, it might not have mattered that Memphis ceased hitting free throws and started to crack, for had KU not kept believing, it too would surely have lost its edge and cracked. It would have lost its patience and its faith. And being down several points, it likely would not have come back.

I have no idea if Bill Self organizes his thinking and coaching with Wooden's pyramid of success. I suspect he has studied it very closely, but I doubt that it finally worked for him. Coaches as great as Self usually have to participate in the creation of the blue print of their own success.

Wooden saw perfection as goal worth striving for and found in the pyramid a form that acted as metaphor for his vision.

Bill Self seems a bit more of a systems guy though I am sure Wooden was to lesser degree also. Wooden after all believed there was a pyramid of success system that could deliver him and his players to "success."

jaybate 9 years, 2 months ago

But true systems guys start out by excluding perfection as both possibility and a goal worth striving for.

The true systems guy starts at: No system understandable to human beings is inclusive; therefore, no system can perfectly account for all inputs into a system; therefore, perfection cannot be a criterion, an objective, or a goal.

We see this again and again in Self's approach to coaching and to playing. Emotions are a system with its own dynamics that produce 1/3 bad performances, 1/3 mediocre performances, and 1/3 great performances. The object is to define and excel at the execution of a system tailored to the reality of the emotional system (or dynamic if you prefer) that is inescapable.

Self says: live with unevenness. Make the best of unevenness, don't try to stop it from existing. Build around it. Use the reality of it to an advantage as much as you can.

To a point you try to help Tyshawn reduce his TOs, but beyond that you accept them and scheme around them. Tyshawn Taylor probably could not have played for John Wooden, even though John Wooden would have loved Tyshawn.

Anyone who thinks Bill Self has a short hook and shows great impatience with young players mistakes, would be absolutely shocked by John Wooden. John Wooden's rigidity about much of basketball play makes Bill Self seem like a hyper tolerant, bleeding heart liberal regarding leash length.

It is hard in a few words to make clear the difference between Self's and Wooden's philosophies, particularly given that they have coached in different eras, and how these differences play out and the best I can do now is resort to, of all things, a snow skiing metaphor.

Self believes in coaching fundamentals so players can ski the terrain and accepts there better days in exchange for their great days.

Wooden believed in coaching fundamentals, so players groom the slope flat and stay on the smooth part. Wooden said hold the variations to a minimum. I don't want your bad days, and, oh, by the way, give me your great days.

John Wooden built players and teams with his pyramid of success so that when he turned up the energy thermostat, they only had to take one step up to competitive greatness. Thus Wooden was efficient in his valving of energy. And his teams operated on a higher average edge than other teams, certainly a higher average edge than Self's, or anyone else's coaching these days.

jaybate 9 years, 2 months ago

(Note: though to be fair, Wooden was just an above average coach until he was 50. Self, Coach Consonants, Bob Knight, among others were probably better coaches under 50 than Wooden. And as a pre-emptive strike against those that want to roll out the Wooden never won till he had Jerry Norman and Sam Gilbert argument, remember, that Wooden, Norman and Gilbert won two straight national championships with players the then major powers--UK, UC, Ohio State, UNC, and Cinncinati--did not even want. And to make Wooden's case here, one that he would never have made for himself for obvious reasons, Wooden got sick and tired of being beaten by teams with recruiters like Jerry Norman, and sugar daddies like Sam Gilbert, and so Wooden began doing with Norman and Gilbert what all the other coaches at the major programs reputedly were already doing, if one is to open one's eyes about the nature of recruiting and player payments down through the years. There is finally not one shred of evidence that Wooden/Norman/Gilbert and UCLA did anything at all out of the norm for major college basketball programs of the time. Further, there is considerable evidence that before Wooden hired Norman and before Norman hooked up with Gilbert, it was Wooden who tried from 1949 to 1963 to play fair, and to out coach all the guys that were not playing fair at the major programs. And it was Wooden that began to see his W&L statement ramp down to near .500 in the face of sharply rising tide of checkbook recruiting and point shaving then dominating college basketball. And again, nothing UCLA was accused of doing during its glory years, was ever documented to exceed anything else going on at any other major basketball program of those years, as documented in Murray Sperbers College Sports Inc 20 years later. It is also critical to point out that when Jerry Tarkanian tired of being harassed for his cheating, that Tarkanian never once said the major programs were cheating more than the lesser programs. He appeared only to suggest that everyone was doing it, but only the lesser schools were being punished for it. I take the time to digress on the Wooden/Norman/Gilbert issue, because it is vital to prevent historical revisionists from diminishing Wooden's greatness as a coach, by insinuating that he some how had an unfair advantage in talent. I lived through those years. I followed UCLA closely. They had two all-time centers: Jabbar and Walton. 6 rings.

jaybate 9 years, 2 months ago

Digression continued...

KU had all time centers twice. Wilt and Manning. What happened? One ring in six seasons. UNC had all time players and arguably the best run of talent in the history of basketball during the late 1970s and 1980s. How many rings? 2? Bob Knight never had an all time great center. He never had an all-time great player even, except perhaps for Isaiah Thomas. How many rings? 4. Great coaches are the great difference makers in college basketball. They have to have talent almost as good or better than their opponents, but if they do, they win rings. Lesser coaches come up short.

Wooden won ten national championships with teams playing the game almost every way it can be played at the offensive end of the floor. If one ranked the great performances by teams in individual games of the NCAA tourney, Wooden's teams would probably account for a third of them. The man was the greatest college basketball coach of all time. Period. There endeth the digression. So: now let's get back to the issue of Self and Wooden on amping and the choice about amping or not amping KU for OU, when MU is the tougher team and just three days in the future, shall we?)

When it was a big game, Wooden could and did take his players to a higher edge of competitive greatness than any other coach before or since. Self has much of this ability and skill, but he apparently chooses to let the average level of performance fluctuate much more greatly than did Wooden. Self sends them out pancake flat often. He appears to build for big games. Wooden tried to maintain an even steven emotional level most of the time and then amped them through the roof for big games.

The technique for amping is really a matter of a coach expressing expectations the day after the last win or loss, and whether he leaves emotional prompting to the team itself, or whether he actively emotionally prompts the players and team.

Coaches are always in players heads individually about things they need to work on, or persist in. But if a coach begins talking about what the team is about to do, about how it is going to do it, and about how intense of an effort is going to be required, and if the coach modulates this appeal to the team by increasing it day, by day until the moment of game time, well, then you get a performance by a team like the one KU gave against Baylor, or the first half of KU's NCAA Semifinal win over UNC.

jaybate 9 years, 2 months ago

Amped players appear to be jumping higher, moving faster, passing crisper, and the floor literally seems to shrink as these great athletes play the game on the edge of the envelope of their competitive greatness. It is a glorious, almost mesmerizing sight to behold, when it happens. It is the alchemy of group dynamics played out within the game of basketball. It is a fact that persons in groups can, for better or worse, take on a group psychology that lifts them (or lowers them) to do things as a group that they cannot (often wouldn't even consider trying to) do in isolation. Fans enthusiasms and noise in an arena can feed into this group dynamic as well.

Individual players can get psyched up about a game on their own, even in groups, but a coach is an overarching authority figure and he can tap the team's group psychology any time he wants to and do so systematically in a slow, steady build up to game time. Nations can be slowly built up for war with fear and well modulated trigger events. Its documented to have occurred over and over again. Committees and legislative bodies can be slowly built up to violate their own rules and constitutions. A passive electorate, even a sympathetic one, can be propagandized incrementally into believing this or that group protesting peacefully for their rights is actually a danger to the national security. It happens time and time again in our society and in others.

Anyone who thinks coaches cannot and do not amp their teams up and other wise modulate their performances to one degree or another just seems to me to lack some insight into human nature and group behavior and authority figures.

So: now at long last to Self's choice about amping KU for OU, or waiting to amp them for MU, which is the better team and only 3 days in the future.

OU in Allen Field House is a game KU ought to win, if it rebounds, protects, gets 5 blocks and 5 strips, and holds OU's Top Gun in check. No 20-30 point nights allowed unless OU's Top Gun takes 20 shots.

Self's options are:

a) AmpMax--the sure win vs. OU with a full blown daily emotional ramp up to the moment the game starts, resulting in a KU team blowing out OU, and swaggering into Columbia slightly past its emotional peak;

b) AmpZero--no amping (i.e., sending them out flat) risking two straight losses and his team walking into Columbia wondering what hit it;

c) AmpMini--alert them to the need to play with more energy and chase that message with just a two day ramp up to an edge.

jaybate 9 years, 2 months ago

The choice seems clear to me: AmpMini. Goose'em up a little to try to ensure a win, but leave the peak performance in the tooth paste tube until Saturday. And that seems to be what Self is doing. He is telling his team it has to get itself up. It has to show more energy. Coaches truly amping teams for a super human effort don't talk at all about amping in public. They just turn up the thermostat and begin juicing their team daily more and more until they come into the arena like Spartacus' slave army ready to kick some Roman ass cause the playing field is level for a change.

The risk of AmpMini is what if Kruger runs an AmpMaxi? What if OU's lesser team comes out like a bunch Prometheuses unbound? What if Self's players aren't quite old enough nd experienced enough to amp themselves up "enough"?

Watching Self in recent years, he seems always to err on the side of trying to winning everything. If there are two games that need winning, and one requires a huge performance, he will gamble on winning the other game flat. He won't hedge his bets. For example, in the 2008 Final Four, Self looked at UNC and Memphis, decided UNC was the toughest out, and opted to AmpMax his team for the semifinals against UNC. Implicit in this was that he gambled that his team could find away to beat Memphis with its B-game. Self let it all ride on red in the semifinals.

Given this tendency in Self, this tendency to want to win both games, Self will gamble on less than an optimum performance against OU, to leave as much gas in the tank as he can for MU Saturday.

There is one other way he might look at amping for the OU and MU games. He might say beating OU is crucial, because its a home game and MU is an optional win, because its a road game and a loss there will only lower us slightly and we'll get them back in our crib later. In this scenario, Self runs the AmpMax vs OU, then tries to grind one out against an overrated MU team that is going to struggle mightily with KU's size advantage.

The surest way to get two is to AmpMini vs. OU at home and AmpMax vs. MU on the road, so that's the way I reckon he will go. Two straight wins could put KU in the clover for the stretch run through the "getting hard" portion of the schedule up coming. Also, when your team is one injury from not being able to win games at all, because of lack of depth, winning every game you can before injuries happen is imperative.

theend 9 years, 2 months ago

Jaybate......Have you seen "the Pacific" yet? I just did last week. I thought it was very good.....but still not even close to "Band of Brothers". That series was the best.

jaybate 9 years, 2 months ago

  1. Choice 2--How Much to Play the Bench?

If he wants a maximum effort out of the team on Saturday, he has to play the subs as much as he can tonight against OU. Period. So since he has already publicly called for the bench to do more, with the threat of banishment next season if they don't, we have to expect to see 'sixth starter' Conner, plus Naadir, KY and Justin seeing lots of action. Further, if Conner has shooting problems, expect to see Jordan Jeunneman getting one prime time look, and maybe a second one if he does okay in his first look.

Self traditionally puts the subs in during the first half, when he does this sort of thing, and then plays the starters big minutes the second half.

His history is to do this only if KU builds up a bit of a lead in the first half. He refused to play the subs much the first half, when KU was behind, even last season when he had a full deck.

The guy prefers a bird (and a win) in the hand to one in the bush; that's the realist in him.

But he also likes to play for all the marbles; that's the gambling side of him.

To maximize his chances to win both games, he's got to play the subs a lot the first half.

To play the subs a lot the first half, he's got to play through Thomas a lot. He's got to "force feed" Thomas a lot, to force this game to turn early on KU's MUAs with Thomas and Jeff.

  1. What About MU?

What he does against OU tonight depends a lot on how important he views a win in Columbia. Does he think he needs a sweep against OU, or a split. Normally, a split would be sufficient, since MU is one of the top teams in the league. But because this is a thin team one injury away from not being competitive, Self probably thinks he's got to go for all the wins he can, while he's got all five of his starters available. It doesn't do any good to play for a split with MU now, if an injury could leave him completely uncompetitive with MU down the road. So: it seems logical that he's going to pull out all the stops for a sweep against MU.

Rock Chalk!

theend 9 years, 2 months ago

Nadir Tharpe scares me.....not sure he really belongs at this level. I hope he improves......but I hvae serious doubts. He may transfer to a mid-major.

He seems like a nice kid.......but doesn't look like he should play in Div least at this point. i hope I'm wrong.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 2 months ago

And here I was considering writing the next great novel.

I will quietly squirm off, tail between my legs.

As response, I agree, disagree, disagree, agree, ambivilant, agree, strongly disagree, abstain (took a break and had a sandwich), forgot where I was, agree, disagree, agree, agree, want to cite a stat to prove wrong, agree, want suggest you amp this, disagree, and I think you meant "sweep against MU."

Chris Shaw 9 years, 2 months ago

Jaybate, similar to a Beyond the Phog book...........I think the LJW or somebody (Hint Hint) needs to write a book about the last decade of posters and the stuff people forget in the "Daily" interactings of the KU Basketball Blog world! Now that would be a book I would read!

It would be funny to go back all these years and sort and filter all the posts from everybody and pick out some of the best and clever posts out there.

jaybate 9 years, 2 months ago

I would buy the book if they did.

I really do think this board could be a wonderful historical record if the LJW/World Corp, or whomever owns these days, can afford to keep the archive long term. I participate in hopes that it will be kept the web site of record for KU basketball.

I hope they can afford to do it, but having been in the cold, cruel world, I doubt they will be able to.

But one way or another, this period of the board will be looked back up on as the golden age of sports blogging the same way we look at the golden age of television. Lots of chaff, but lots of great stuff, too.

What is so important about this board is the fantastic amount of information that board rats have posted here about KU basketball that I for one never knew about. Between Bill Mayer and 100, I got a Ph.d. in early KU hoops that I never dreamed of receiving.

I miss 100 so much, because there are questions I want to ask him almost every day.

But the great thing is that we got a lot out of him, while he was with us, and for so long as they archive us, we can retrieve his thoughts by searching.

This is the great beauty of documenting the legacy here.

The danger is that economics can kill the documentation in the blink of an eye.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 2 months ago

225 games without consecutive defeats..unfathomable!! That's like a whole graduating class of PHD's never seeing consecutive losses since they started out as freshman!!!

Over twice as long as the next guy!!

Throw in the longest streak of NCAA appearances, seven successive conference titles, the longest home winning streak up to last year and the best venue in America, no wonder we're so spoiled!!!

theend 9 years, 2 months ago is pretty amazing. A lot of KU fans need perspective in this regard.

Kye Clark 9 years, 2 months ago

Jaybate - a couple of thoughts in response to your post. First of all, I have no doubt that the level of "amping" varies from game to game. Obviously if Self gives his best "rah rah" speech before every game, before long the message loses its effect. Following the aTm game, I found myself buying into your theory that Self sent them out flat for that game in preparation to rev them up for the ISU game. Now one of two things happened: either he didn't go full-amp for the ISU game, and the result was they came out flat, or he did go full-amp and the message fell on deaf ears and they came out flat. So, we must hope that he didn't go full-amp and simply mis-judged the 'clones, because if his message is already losing its potency this early in the season it doesn't bode well for the rest of the season. My guess is he went "AmpMini" as you say. He had five days and a full game's worth of film with which to prepare, and figured he could get by with his team by-and-large self-motivating (no pun intended).

Now he has seen his team less "energized" for two games. He has MU on the horizon, yet standing in his immediate path is Kruger's Sooners - a team capable of handing him another loss if he isn't careful. We can judge from Self's comments regarding MU's Big XII departure that he really wants to win both games against them this year. A split is not entering his consciousness. But how to approach OU? You can bet Kruger will use his best "AmpMaxi" for this game. There would be no better resume builder for him to take down the 7-year reigning conference champs on their home court during his first year in Norman. Given the next two games, it puts Self in an interesting position. He cannot lose tonight. He needs to build momentum and confidence before traveling to Columbia. But he can't risk over-amping his team tonight and having them come out with anything less than their best Saturday.

To me, we have already seen Self's strategy for tonight's game. It's "AmpMini", as you put it, but probably not in the way he normally amps his teams. He's not going to do anything special in the immediate pre-game. He's already been doing done it. He's publicly called them soft. He's publicly told the bench players "come strong or go home." He's no doubt been riding them in practice for the past two days. He's amped them, without letting them know it's what he's doing. He'll probably give a ho-hum pregame speech, striking a few cords to evoke those public comments about them, hoping this will be enough to carry them to the win, all the while leaving himself enough latitude to go full-charge for Saturday.

Just my own theory playing off yours. Of course we could be missing something. The concern we saw on Danny's face in the aTm could be related to something very real that we aren't yet privy to. Regardless...time to get back on track tonight. Rock Chalk!

KansasComet 9 years, 2 months ago

We are the "bullseye". We have the target placed squarely upon us every single game, no matter the opponent. Everyone needs to understand this. It does not matter who we are playing. Everyone wants to beat Kansas. It is something for the few teams that beat us to talk about for years and years and years. Iowa State beat us. They played hard enough to beat us. Every loose ball, every missed shot mattered to Iowa State more than it did to us. We had just won 10 in a row and forgot what that loss to Davidson felt like. Thank you to Iowa State for reminding us. Now it is up to the guys to get out there and play ball for 40 minutes, forget about rankings and kick some tail! OU will have the same hunger that Iowa State had. Let's go Jayhawks!

kellerman411 9 years, 2 months ago

I'm trying to decide if I want to read JayBate's post or the entire Harry Potter series. With such a massive time investment on the line, I want to make sure the right decision is made.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 2 months ago

One point to generally consider. Coaches can motivate without a speech. Effective techniques are dead silence, something written on the chalkboard, a one line pick me up, assistants doing the talking about the head coach's work/frustration, the "I don't know if I believe it you" stuff, the "I believe in you no matter what" stuff", whatever.

I do not believe (like Jaybate does) that coach Self purposefully sends his teams out amped at zero or under amped. Respectfully, that is riduculous to me. Lots of reasons, but one is that Coach Self has demonstrated by other actions that he does not want to lose or risk losing even one game for the potential late season benefits. His substitution patterns prove that.

Different games call for different prep and motivation styles. And I guess that's really the point. You have to amp appropriately for each game, understanding the player's mindset with respect to that game. Heading into a big game, a coach can make his team tight, if he's tight or is hyper-critical. Lots of pitfalls. You have to know your team. No amp or under amp? No. Appropriately amp for each game using different techniques, all as part of the master plan? Yes.

I do believe that coach Self uses a whole basket of motivation techniques. He may not give the fire and brimstone speech Saturday night. He may not say much. He simply may ask -- "How much do you love this University? I want to know tonight." Hell, he may lecture them for a half hour. He certainly is thinking about Saturday. He is handling this came with Saturday in mind.

I know the "Self is God" crowd can't fathom this. But Self has failed miserably many times in getting his teams mentally ready to play. There are many times our talent has won out simply because it is overwhelming, when it is obvious that our team isn't ready to play. There are many more times our teams are expertly ready to play. That all can be expected when dealing with very young adults, and from an actual human being (that makes mistakes and can't foresee very pitfall) who is one of the best college coaches ever.

I mentioned this back last spring after the VCU debacle. Self has to examine how he preps his teams. Learn from it. Adjust. Learn from substitution mistakes. Maybe he has. Be open minded to improving. There is no excuse for UNI and VCU .. none. Self has really never taken any responsibility. He gets great credit for 2008; He has great responsibility for Bucknell, Bradley, UNI, and VCU.

Same will go for Saturday night.

jaybate 9 years, 2 months ago

Another good take.

But I don't buy it, of course. :-)

REHawk 9 years, 2 months ago

If tonight's first half gets away from us, and a loss looms ominously, I'd bet that there will be some significant halftime amping! A loss tonight not only breaks that string of 225 consecutive games w/o back to back defeats, it also digs us in a hole as the league season unwinds, sending us into desperation mode until or if we regain an advantage in league standings. Wins tonight and at The Paige Saturday will be huge in priming the Jayhawks for the race to the stretch. Threat of lingering injury to a starter also looms ominously from day to day. Fortunately, TT seems to have played through and survived his injury; we must be gentle in our analysis of TR, as he is doing perhaps the best he can with the injured foot and wrist. I presume that Thomas' energy has been more than somewhat defused by the remembrances and attention called to his family losses in the month of January. Who knows what else could be in the mix to affect our recent play. Coaching staff and players rarely mention such negatives until well after kids are on the mend. Ergo, our criticisms sometimes are cruel, unknowingly to posters who don't grasp the full picture.

REHawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Comet, your bullseye factor speaks volumes in regard to the mindset of our annual competitors, esp. league opponents who have struggled, often hopelessly, for decades to defeather the Jayhawks. No matter where we are ranked, Kansas Basketball, historically, represents the penultimate cornerstone of the very sport itself.

KansasComet 9 years, 2 months ago

REHawk, thank you so very much for elaborating a point that I have been trying to make for a long time. I like the way you put it. We are Kansas. We are lesser teams National Championship Game. It is a big deal to beat Kansas. Question: Will Davidson talk more about the loss to Kansas that prevented them from advancing to the Final Four in 2008 or will they talk about the fact that they beat Kansas in a regular season game? I think we all know the answer. This is why "We are Kansas"!

Brian Conrad 9 years, 2 months ago

wow A & M coach soooo bad. 5 terrible plays in last minute and A&M blows win over Baylor.. only down by 1 under thier own goal with 9 secondS left . they inbound throw up off balance three in half second .. no chance to go in .. all they had to do was feed the post and get a foul , anything.. worst shot they could possibly take 1 second turn around three??? Baylor should have lost , MU should have lost at Texas.. Now Hawks get geared up and go into MU and kick rear.. win this and no looking back.. lets send MU to SEC with 2 defeats home and Away !!! ROCK CHALK!!!

Steve Brown 9 years, 2 months ago

Every year we normally get help with other teams beating MU or Baylor and this year, not so much so we have to take care of business ourselves. So be it......

antlers here we come, we bringing Mr. Robinson, TTaylor the stud, and Mr Whithey, choke on it SEC meat.

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