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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Beware of the ‘mud’: Bill Self wary of Red Raiders

Kansas head coach Bill Self, right, laughs with Texas Tech head coach Billy Gillispie, who is Self's former assistant, prior to tipoff on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, at United Spirit Arena.

Kansas head coach Bill Self, right, laughs with Texas Tech head coach Billy Gillispie, who is Self's former assistant, prior to tipoff on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, at United Spirit Arena.

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There’s always a chance Kansas University’s basketball team will put on a high-flying offensive display — featuring an assortment of lob-dunks and breakaway jams — on any given night in Allen Fieldhouse, a place where the Jayhawks have won 88 of their past 89 games.

The odds of such a show decrease a bit, however, when the opponent happens to be coach Billy Gillispie’s 2011-12 Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Tech (8-17), which has averaged a league-worst 53.2 points a game while winning just one of 13 conference contests, has allowed 67.2 points a game while holding its last two opponents — Oklahoma (47) and Texas A&M; (47) — under 50. The last time Tech held back-to-back league foes under the century mark was way back in 1987.

“I know Billy well enough to know he’ll muddy it up,” KU coach Bill Self said in previewing today’s 7 p.m. home match-up between the No. 4-ranked Jayhawks (21-5, 11-2) and Red Raiders. Tech is coached by former Self assistant Gillispie, who is not against slowing the game to a crawl if necessary.

“When we played down there, he did a good job. It was 16-15 with five minutes left in the first half. We set ball back a few years in that first half,” Self added. The Jayhawks led, 35-20, at the break before scoring 46 points the second 20 minutes of an 81-46 rout of the Raiders on Jan. 11 in Lubbock.

“Of course in Manhattan, both the Jayhawks and Wildcats set ball back 15 or 20 years,” Self said of Monday’s 59-53 KU victory in Manhattan. “I don’t think winning ugly is all bad. This past Monday was a typical Big 10-type game. There were fewer possessions, and it was muddied up. That will be the same when we play Billy.”

Sophomore guard Javarez Willis was the only Red Raider to score in double figures in the first meeting with KU. He scored 12 points on a night KU’s Thomas Robinson, Tyshawn Taylor and Travis Releford totaled 19, 15 and 12 respectively.

“They are better than we were in my first year. We lost 18 in a row (at Oral Roberts), and that wasn’t exactly playing Big 12-caliber competition,” Self said. “He’s way ahead of where we were, but it’s tough. He didn’t get a chance to really recruit (after taking over for Pat Knight). By the time he got the job, most of the guys had signed or committed. I’m not worried about Billy getting players there. He’s going to get better players there, and they’re going to get better. They’re better than they were the first time we played them. They could have easily beat (Texas) A&M.; They had the game muddied up, just the way they wanted it. They beat Oklahoma muddying it up, and they’ll come in here and try to muddy it up.”

Tech scored just 38 points in Tuesday’s 47-38 home loss to A&M;, a game that followed Saturday’s 65-47 home victory over OU, Gillispie’s first conference win since his last coaching stint at Kentucky.

The Raiders actually led the Aggies, 24-9, with 6:30 left in the first half, making the rest of the game that much more disappointing.

“We’ve been seeing results. The only one anyone cares about is wins and losses,” Gillispie said. “As coaches you see the process more than the end result. We understand the end result is what matters. We understand that and like that. I’ve seen us improve in so many areas during the course of the season, while we were not winning conference games, but that makes me appreciate and respect our guys even more.

“There are not too many people in life when things don’t start out as well as you want they keep on fighting hard and stick with it and are persistent and have the tenacity and all those things that will bode well for the future of the program.”

The Raiders have just one double-digit scorer — Jordan Tolbert, a 6-foot-7 freshman who averages 11.4 points a game. Robert Lewandowski, a 6-10 senior out of Blue Valley West High School, averages 7.3 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.

“We knew what we signed up for. Our players knew it’d be a challenge all year long. They’ve been up for the challenge as far as doing every single thing right other than just winning games in the conference,” Gillispie said. “You don’t want to go through the long losing streak. But it makes you very, very proud as a coach when young people continue to fight even though the result is not what anybody wants.”

Johnson update: KU junior guard Elijah Johnson takes an 8.7 scoring average into tonight’s game. He has made 41 of 140 threes for 29.3 percent. He averages 7.2 ppg in league games, making 16 of 58 threes (27.6 percent)

“He’s doing fine. He’s not making shots like he can, but he’s actually done a really nice job defensively in most cases,” Self said. “He did a really nice job on (Brady) Heslip down at Baylor. He did a nice job, for the most part, the other night on (K-State’s Will) Spradling. He was locked up on him most of the time. He’s done some good things. Elijah is not concerned at all about scoring or that kind of stuff. He just wants to win. He takes great pride in doing little things to give us the best chance to win, so I’m pleased with him. I’m still waiting for that stretch (of breakout games). Every player has that stretch, and his hasn’t come yet. I’m excited about that stretch because I know it’s coming.”

Asked what to expect from Tech, Johnson said: “Their best shot. It’s the biggest game they play in conference when they come to Kansas, so I’m ready. We’re ready ... all of us.”

League race tight: Conference co-leader Missouri travels to Texas A&M; today for a 1 p.m. tipoff. MU and KU are tied for the league lead at 11-2

“We can definitely win the league,” KU junior center Jeff Withey said. “There are five more games, and the league is ours if we go to work and do what we are supposed to do. We can beat out Missouri when they come here if we do what we’re supposed to do and play basketball like we are capable of playing. We want to win the league, and that is something that we pride ourselves on and we just have to go to work everyday.”

Withey, who was national player of the week last week, was asked if he’s noticed a change in people around him.

“Definitely, walking on campus trying to talk to everybody who wants to talk to you,” he said. “You try to stay humble by not believing the hype. I’ve tried to stay away from the media. It’s hard, but I want to stay humble and focus on basketball.”

Comments

kusportsdotcom 7 years, 1 month ago

Gary, the "century mark" is 100. So, I think you may have meant "half-century mark" up above.

Just nitpicking, sorry. Keep up the good work!

Jeff Coffman 7 years, 1 month ago

It is holding two opponants combined under the century mark. So 47+47 = 94, below the century mark. In your scenario. If one scored 51+47 =98. It would still be under the century mark. Yes he could have said what you said, but what he said was not incorrect.

Just nitpicking, sorry...read before you write.

Garry Wright 7 years, 1 month ago

"Back to back foes." Believe he was refering to two games--50 + 50 = 100, 40 + 60 = 100, or whatever combination of scores for two games totaling under the century mark.

Tim Orel 7 years, 1 month ago

You read it the same way I did. I'd expect something written above as meaning they held back to back foes under 100 points apiece, which is not what he (Bedore) meant. It seemed a tortured way of saying it, and I don't think it worked out.

Alohahawk 7 years, 1 month ago

It's important to keep perspective on each and every game now. Just as it is in the NCAA tournament, the next game is the most important one.

KU can't look past any opponent if they're going to win the Big 12. Texas Tech may have the worst record in the conference, but on any given night....

One game at a time Hawks!!!

RCJHGKU!!! (All caps)

Alohahawk 7 years, 1 month ago

Mahalo. I've started including that, because LJW never caps those letters. Their policy seems to be anything over 4 letters (if in caps) gets decapped.

Alex Berger 7 years, 1 month ago

I DO SAY HAWK MAYBE CORRECT.

Just testing.

theboehr 7 years, 1 month ago

For me, the key word in this article comes from Jeff: "humble."

So glad to hear this come from a player on our team. I have been thinking to myself all year that the best thing these players can do in the face of all the praise they (sometimes) receive is just stay humble. Once you start reading all the espn articles about how good you are, it all of a sudden goes to your head and your game suffers because of it.

Humility in the midst of success is one of the most honorable characteristics someone can have. I'm proud that Jay Dub (yep, just invented a terrible nickname) is trying to keep a level head on his shoulders, very admirable.

Edward Daub 7 years, 1 month ago

The danger today is looking past Tech, and chalking up a V before the tip! The Red Raiders just don't have the horses this year. But, Billy is smart! A few years ago with A&M at AFH, he out smarted Bill down the stretch.

kellerman411 7 years, 1 month ago

Normally, I would agree. However, with the minutes our guys have put in this season, you have to back off during these games. Bill will have them prepared to play but I'm willing to bet the last few days were not solely focused on beating Texas Tech. I would love to see T-Rob and Tyshawn on the bench sipping gatorade.

TT is just a bad team this year, really bad. Your right though, gotta watch Gillispie!

Robin Smith 7 years, 1 month ago

that close loss to A&M was about Acie Law, more than Billy G doing any out-smarting, unless you consider having Acie Law on the team as out-smarting, which to a certain degree it is :)

very glad to have Gillispie back in the league and look forward to Tech being a force in just a few seasons with his amazing turnaround skills.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 1 month ago

If we couldn't win at home with TRob, TT, you, me and bugs bunny in the starting lineup against Texas Tech, I'd be worried. I'm not worried.

baldwinjhawk 7 years, 1 month ago

Yes Jeff, stay humble and stay here with us for your senior season.... Please! RCJH

REHawk 7 years, 1 month ago

Beak 'em, Hawks! Gotta lay the beak early on Billy the Fox. Rock Chalk!

Patrickulating 7 years, 1 month ago

"Kansas head coach Bill Self laughs Texas Tech head coach Billy Gillispie, who is Self's former assistant, and prior to tipoff on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, at United Spirit Arena."

Huh?

hawkinNE 7 years, 1 month ago

Did anybody else think HCBS over used the phrase "muddy it up"? Must be the southern slang. Not a big deal just repetitive.

I will believe 99.9% of the things HCBS says, but i cant for the life of me believe EJ isnt worried about scoring. If he wasnt worried about scoring he wouldnt have shot 140 3's. IMO he needs to focus on what he needs to do to score. Hopefully it will come around by tourney time.

Kontum1972 7 years, 1 month ago

do they show the games at the Dg County jail...?

JayHok 7 years, 1 month ago

http://lawnchairkings.com/second%20cd%20sound%20clips.html

I think they do. The song called "Back Again" talks about downtown Lawrence, basketball and a trip to the Douglas County jail.

You can click on the song for a free clip. Unfortunately you have to buy the song to hear the basketball and Jail parts. Positive is it's 99 cents and there's a lot of old Mass Street bars the band is stumbles around throughout the song that make it worth a listen.

RCJ

KEITHMILES05 7 years, 1 month ago

Fully convinced EJ is content on shooting 3 balls and playing defense. It's too bad he doesn't accept the encouragement from Self and his teammates to drive and use his athletic body.

Kyle Sybesma 7 years, 1 month ago

Not too concerned about this game but that trap game at A&M. They are getting better and conference road games are always tough.

KansasComet 7 years, 1 month ago

Hopefully the two days off, pays off! Let's go Jayhawks!!

Steve Brown 7 years, 1 month ago

We have strong chance to go 25-6 or 26-5 before post season play.

Amazing, I recall pre.season my number, and I wasn't alone, was 19-12. Losing Reed, Brady, the twins, and 2-3 recruits not eligible, who knew what Coaches would cook up with this group.

It won't get recognized nationally, but we know.

Mighty proud to be Jayhawk. Wow!

"get stops, fight for 50.50 balls, move the ball - make their defense work, take open shots, run the stuff."

Kye Clark 7 years, 1 month ago

Don't forget we lost Selby too.

Or was that an intentional oversight?

brooksmd 7 years, 1 month ago

Actually I Vitale said HCBS should be considered for coach of the year. If you can consider Vitale national. Think he spends most of his time on "tobacco road."

MizzouBest 7 years, 1 month ago

Easy win for KU today. No problem. Self has to say that stuff......nothing more than words.

Travis Shinkle 7 years, 1 month ago

Hey can anyone explain why the NCAA thinks we have a "home" loss? Last time I checked, the loss vs Davidson was on a "neutral" court...

http://www.ncaa.com/rankings/basketball-men/d1/ncaa_mens_basketball_rpi

BCRavenJHawkfan 7 years, 1 month ago

Technically it was on neutral court. But considering Wichita State just beat Davidson on Davidson's home court we have to swallow that one as a huge embarassment.

WilburNether 7 years, 1 month ago

Only fools think that "an assortment of lob-dunks and breakaway jams" is what makes for a good basketball game.

texashawk10 7 years, 1 month ago

It does if you're on the team doing the lob dunks and breakaway jams because that means 1) you're getting a lot of fastbreak opportunities and 2) you're running your offense to perfection, plus it's also a sign of good team chemistry.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 1 month ago

Saw above where lighthawk predicted a 19-12 record. I do think he was alone. I don't recall any other poster under 20 wins. That is the first as far as I remember.

A number of posters were right in the 5-8 loss range. I was at 7 losses.

Regardless, we continue to underestimate how Self's players develop, and we continue to underestimate just how good of a pure "coach" that Bill Self is .. no matter how much we respect the guy. He's better than we think.

The main developments that have caused this team's surge in conference play: 1. Self's coaching 2. TT after Jan. 1 3. TRob as a POY candidate 4. Staying healthy

And this team has overcome: 1. Relatively poor offensive play from EJ .. we expected a lot more. 2. Releford contributing with points only sporadically. 3. Withey's erratic play. 4. TT .. well, you know. 5. Wesley not ready for primetime. 6. KY's marginal contribution. 7. Teahan not leading the team in 3 ball %. 8. Tharpe in the doghouse, not contributing. 9. No BMac or Traylor. 6. Missouri's 100 year flood.

Oddly, the number of things that have really gone wrong are more than the things that have gone right. Think about that.

If at the beginning of the season, you were told how poor our bench play has been, that EJ is shooting in the 20s from 3 range, that Releford wasn't averaging 14 per game, that Mizzou had two losses, and that TT's assist to TO ratio was as poor as it is, would you imagine us in this spot?

Only if you take the weight of the positives into account could you conceive of our position right now ... leading with item 1. That overcomes other negatives. Also, the power of solid point guard play cannot be overlooked. It has been a point many have made here over the past few years, particularly last season .. only if we had solid point guard play. And we didn't necessarily expect TRob to be this good, but we certainly could imagine it.

I think a number of us were convinced that Self finds a way. Clearly the best regular season/conference play coach now, and perhaps ever.

Now, the "but" .. "but", how good of a coach is he in March? Does he prepare his teams to win in March, or win in January/February? Are those mutually exclusive? Why the stumbles vs. inferior competition .. VCU, UNI, Bradley, Bucknell? Does he overlook player development in favor of winning every regular season game (meaning, not playing certain players because it would more put at risk losing the current game, vs. a long term plan to be at top speed in March)? Was 2008 a fluke? Are the unexpected losses really the flukes?

(cont)

Alohahawk 7 years, 1 month ago

While all four of the NCAA losses you mention were disappointing and frustrating because they were against non-BCS teams, the VCU loss is slightly different in that it was in an Elite Eight game.

Yes, VCU slipped in the back door of the tourney, and could be considered a less quality team for that reason. But to lose (to any team) in the Elite Eight should not be considered the embarrassment which most Hawk fans consider it to be. It's much better than an earlier loss to even a BCS team. The greater disappointment of that loss has to be that KU should have won because of the Jayhawk's overall W/L record and, therefore, higher expectations. To put it in perspective, at the beginning of this season would most of us have considered losing (to any team) in the Elite Eight an embarrassment at the end of this year?

Don't get me wrong, because I'm not making excuses. We all felt KU had the better team against VCU, but on any given night...

The pressure was on the Jayhawks that night, while VCU had nothing to lose. They had already surpassed everyone's expectations and had no pressure.

Very few teams would be disappointed with making it to the Elite Eight. The difference is: "We are Kansas."

Steve Brown 7 years, 1 month ago

My 19 was for the games prior to Sprint Center Post season B12 tourney, as I said at the time. With Sprint and Big Dance I was hoping for 23.24 total. Regardless you are correct, and I was not alone with expectations too low....I like your post.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 1 month ago

(cont) To begin this season, I conceded that this would be an "enjoy the ride" season. A term I never really want to be associated with. But I have enjoyed this ride much more than the last two seasons. This season, the conference title .. undisputed conference title .. means something more because we assumed we wouldn't be as good, because we were not picked to win the league, because Missouri is leaving and they will win it if we don't.

And we can't let MU win the conference tournament. We need to send them out on the confederate horse they rode in on -- academic alignment, right?

But an interesting thing has happened, hasn't it? We are national title contenders. This team can win it all. That's the truth.

But I still fall short of the "national championship or the season is a failure" perspective that I've had the last two seasons. Enjoy the ride. The ride might go farther than expected. And maybe I'm now expecting that.

MizzouBest 7 years, 1 month ago

You're right. This team is very different and much better than it was just 3 months ago. Night and Day.

JurisJayhawk 7 years, 1 month ago

I remember at Late Night when HCBS said, "Enjoy the ride," which to me was keyword for "We might lose a lot more than KU fans are used to, but enjoy the develpment."

Then the first few games we just didn't FEEL like a KU team. We were missing that Kansas Jayhawk, you-can't-put-a-finger-on-it, greatness but we have that now. So impressed and so happy to be a KU fan. Love it.

RCJH (All Caps - hahaha, alohawk)

AsadZ 7 years, 1 month ago

HEM, You have good points in the post but in your "The main developments that have caused this team's surge in conference play" you have missed a key point, Jeff Withey.

Without his development/production no way we are tied for 1st palce.

Jeff Withey is most improved player in America.

Justin Daniel 7 years, 1 month ago

Jordan Woodard, a 6'0'' 4 star, junior, point guard, from Edmond, OK will be on a visit today. He would be a great get!

jaybate 7 years, 1 month ago

I listen to the data.

The early losses come against inferior teams; ones that Self sends them out flat against in his mission to get two wins in a weekend, aiming to save the peak performances for the late rounds of the tourney.

Self amps them for one, or the other, or neither, in the early rounds to save the amped performances for when needed.

He's a great coach that gambles big on emotion.

He believes in surfing the emotional wave of his team, not fighting those waves.

Self starts from the assumption that a team only has so many great performances in it.

He saves those great performances for the toughest teams.

The low seeds bring their A games, never planning to go all the way.

Self saves the A games for later rounds, because blue blood schools are trying to go all the way.

Sometimes the low seeds A games are good enough to beat the blueblood team's B games.

It gets you knocked out early sometimes, but when you get past the leaders, Self's way enables awesome peak performances later against teams like Carolina '08 that they would not beat otherwise.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 1 month ago

Jaybate: I think on many topics, you hit the nail on the head. I also think that on most occasions your analysis is based on logic. On this topic, I think you are way off base and your analysis illogical.

Your premise is that coach Self purposefully sends his team out for an NCAA game "flat", with the bigger purpose to save peak performances for later in the tournament. If you said this regarding the non-con season, it might be logical to me here and there when you're learning about your team. But not in the NCAAs.

It is hard to respond to this because it is just speculation. But the best way, I guess, is to look at it this way:

  1. We all agree coach Self is smart coach.
  2. Smart coaches do not make gambles that they don't have to make.
  3. We can generally agree that coaches preach to their teams, one game at a time even during the regular season when that doesn't matter as much. In lose and you're out .. elimination situations .. it is heightened. You can't let your team look ahead.
  4. Smart coaches, as well, play one game at a time in elimination situations. While they can afford to look ahead because they aren't the one's playing, they can't look ahead in their effort and prep of their team. They can't look ahead. They can't make assumptions. We're talking NCAA games. One and done and it's over. You cannot afford to gamble when you don't have to.
  5. You don't have to gamble on "amping" in the NCAA tournament because of the format. Each weekend is a mini-tournament. A final four. Win that final four, and move on. There is enough time between games .. first and second round weekend, and the Sweet 16/Elite 8 weekend, that a coach can keep the two completely separate.
  6. There is typically no appreciable difference in the risk of being eliminated between 2nd round games and Elite Eight games (as we have shown over 20+ years).
  7. The "amped" games as you put it, were needed vs. Bucknell, Bradley, UNI, and VCU, right?
  8. You assume coach Self is blind. If he purposefully employed this strategy vs. Bucknell and Bradley .. just make that assumption .. and with that experience, he then purposefully employed it vs. UNI and VCU, the man is blind. Coach Self, if he did this, is clueless. It would be coaching malpractice. (cont)

Jack Wilson 7 years, 1 month ago

(cont)

  1. You assume that coach Self is consciously underestimating mid-majors. Basically saying, "we can get by flat" and still win. That is not what coaches do. Coaches take every opponent seriously. The good coaches are anal. The good coaches assume that they can lose every game and they over-prepare. They investigate every avenue of defeat, plug every hole, and prepare for every contingency. The do not assume that they can cruise past Holy Cross, or UNI. If they do, they lose.
  2. The only evidence to your theory, actually, is fact. You can argue that Self does this by pointing to it as the explanation for our NCAA failures vs. mid-majors. That Self purposefully sends the team out flat. It would explain a lot. I would then question whether we have the right coach.

That is an explanation, but I can't buy it. My opinion of Self would go through the floor, as would most folks' opinions.

When it comes to "amping" .. a coach can employ many methods .. overt, subjective, subtle, loud, quiet, and weirdly psychological.

But the goal is to properly motivate your team each game to win. It makes no sense vs. Texas Tech to motivate the same way you would vs. Kentucky. But you motivate.

And in one and done situations, you never send a team out flat. Never. Too much at stake.

Joseph Kuebel 7 years, 1 month ago

Correct me if I'm wrong but in this article is this what self was implying: "Beware of the mud that sits at the bottom, like these red raiders. Beware of the dog shi tlayin on the ground, you just might step in it"??

Sure does sound like it!

Joseph Kuebel 7 years, 1 month ago

I know, I know... he means a slowed down version running off clock to allow fewer possessions and hopefully get lucky off of a few (timely) miscues ... But, at first glance it seemed more of a "Don't step on bottom feed ground"/ "Don't step on that bottom dwelling mud/turd right there"... nothin worse than an angry monkey throwing feces around, (we can all ask 100 about that). Or an Angry 1 and 13 Billy G throwing feces around trying to get KU to play garbage ball w them.

JayHok 7 years, 1 month ago

CaliHawk might be onto something here.

http://lawnchairkings.com/first%20cd%20sound%20clips.html

Click on "Take Me Out in Yer Pickup Truck"

This could be the kind of mud Self is referring to.

RCJ

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