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Monday, January 23, 2012

Keegan

Numbers don’t lie: Kansas is good

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Kansas University, which lost two lottery picks and four starters from last season, will appear somewhere in the top five when today’s national rankings are released.

But are the Jayhawks really that good?

Well, yes.

How? In a nutshell, they play more sound basketball — at both ends and especially in transition — than opponents by having mentally stronger and physically quicker athletes play intensely and play together.

Basketball games aren’t often won by the team that has better shooters, rather the one that takes better shots, and few teams do a better job of consistently proving that than the one that faces Texas A&M tonight in Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas doesn’t have a starter who counts shooting among his top two strengths. A look at KU’s free-throw accuracy (.655, seventh in the Big 12) indicates pure shooting touches don’t fill the Jayhawks’ roster. Yet, Kansas ranks third in the Big 12 in field-goal percentage (.487), behind Baylor (.500) and Missouri (.492).

Kansas obviously is at its best on the run, where numbers advantages lead to dunks and layups. But even in the halfcourt, KU gets good shots, either from Tyshawn Taylor driving to the hoop for buckets or to set up teammates when the defense breaks down, or by the players moving the ball so quickly with passes the defense can’t keep up.

Despite all the complaining about Taylor’s penchant for wild passes, he is the point guard for the team that leads the conference with a 1.37 assists-to-turnovers ratio. Elijah Johnson (1.92) ranks fifth, Taylor (1.3) ninth.

In an 18-point victory against Baylor in Allen Fieldhouse, Kansas showed superior offensive patience and typically waited to take three-pointers until they were wide-open shots. Baylor repeatedly jacked up threes early in the clock.

In Austin, where Kansas won by three points, J’Covan Brown launched 26 shots in his final 30 minutes on the court, a rate of nearly one per minute. In the game’s final 7:06, Brown took eight shots, the rest of the Longhorns two. Even on a Kansas team in which two players, Thomas Robinson and Taylor, clearly are the best scoring options, that sort of ball-hoggery just doesn’t take place.

Defensively, the quick and conditioned, long and strong, Kansas athletes have limited conference foes to .364 shooting, best in the conference, and .300 three-point shooting, tied with Kansas State for second behind Iowa State (.274). The Jayhawks lead the Big 12 with a plus-6.7 rebounding margin.

Bill Self’s team has become more confident and intense, winning nine in a row since the Davidson debacle. He knows how much his players can handle in terms of turning up the heat in practice and taking off the pressure during games. During a timeout with eight seconds left, KU up two on Texas, and Thomas Robinson set to head to the line for two shots, Self kept it simple.

“I think that’s hard to do when you give guys three scenarios, ‘OK, if we’re up two, if we’re up three, if we’re up four,’ I don’t think that would be smart,” Self said. “I think our guys could forget, or one guy messes up, or next thing you know, a guy clips off an open one.”

Kansas takes a lot more open ones than it allows.

Comments

KU_Alumn_2000 2 years, 9 months ago

Number one in the convergence in confining the oppositions field goal percentage to .364...and number one in the conference with a +6.7 rebounding advantage.

We play dam good defense...and we rebound like pissed off wild animals. That's Bill Self basketball at its best...and that's why we win.

Keegan - you're right...we are good. It's time people stop saying that this is a down year.

Jeeveshawk 2 years, 9 months ago

"Kansas University, which lost two lottery picks and four starters from last season, will appear somewhere in the top five when today’s national rankings are released."

Im not sure how likely it is we will be in the top 5. I see the ESPN rankings being:

  1. Kentucky
  2. Syracuse
  3. Missouri
  4. Ohio State
  5. Duke
  6. Kansas
  7. Baylor
  8. North Carolina
  9. Michigan State
  10. Murray State
  11. Georgetown
  12. Conneticut
  13. Florida
  14. Indiana
  15. San Diego State
  16. Mississippi State
  17. Creighton
  18. Virginia
  19. UNLV
  20. Michigan
  21. Marquette
  22. Saint Mary's
  23. Louisville
  24. Harvard
  25. Kansas State

nuleafjhawk 2 years, 9 months ago

Don't be surprised - remember - they are Duke and the media LOVES them and Coach Ratface.

Steve Gantz 2 years, 9 months ago

Where's my plaque? You gave me a PHOF a couple of years ago, still waiting. It's the only thing I've accomplished in life.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

LOL.

Its a virtual plaque hanging in your mind. :-)

And you've won others.

Don't complain. :-)

Steve Gantz 2 years, 9 months ago

You don't know what my mind is like, there's virtually nothing left of it!

lahothan 2 years, 9 months ago

I would have to slide KU from 6 to 4 and bump OSU and Duke. North Carolina... well...

april28 2 years, 9 months ago

KU is undefeated. Is there something more you would have liked them to have done?

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

Oh, mangiloid,

It appears you didn't finish school, so you really shouldn't cast stones of this sort.

Stick with you more indolent retorts.

They're more fun to make fun of.

And if we can't make fun of your posts, well, gosh darn it, you're just not offering much utility to board rats otherwise. :-)

Cantkeepagooddudedown 2 years, 9 months ago

cmon jaybate... here is something to make fun of.

No matter how good and exciting times are rooting for KU at this very moment... it's still in the NCAA tournament where HCBS and his teams have everything to prove. It is greatly disturbing that people can argue that. PEOPLE are greatly disturbing... and trust me... it's not me... it's all YOU people.

I love kansas and I love how this team is playing right now. The Texas game was a step back on the board domination, but I love how they responded down the stretch.

But how is this current success different than last year? Or 5 other years? HCBS is a good coach... good enough to win the big 12 and win a crapload of games. But winning in March should be a little higher priority than that the rest of the great things on his resume. This is KANSAS. We don't HOPE for 30+ wins and Big 12 titles... we hope for national championships. There are reasons his teams struggle in the tournament and I put that on the coach... not on the players. You should know by now that Self would put that on the coach, too.

I hope he finds a new method or approach to get his players to win in March. But I don't see it. I see things he should be doing in Nov and Dec that would help. He's not changing anything because he's winning lots of games and conference titles and everyone seems pretty content with that. We're a big fish in a small pond being all proud of our consistent domination of the big 12.

I hope I'm wrong..... I reeeeeeally hope I am. But I see more success this year... this team rising to the occasion and winning yet another conf title... and then fizzling out in March again.

tdub 2 years, 9 months ago

So.... what's that make Roy Williams' tenure at Kansas?

Also, over the past 30 years, 19 teams have won national championships. KU has won two of those, with one of them coming under Self.

Now for the perspective pitch: Out of over 300 schools, we are one of the 19 that has come out on top over a 30 year span. I'd say we are about on pace with most of the other leading schools.

Now for the speculation: Thinking big picture/long term, Self will make you eat those words with a couple more 'ships before he is done at KU.

In short, settle down. We are still one of the elite, and under Self we always will be.

Robert Murphy 2 years, 9 months ago

Teams who have the best players and have good nights win in the tourney. Bill self is not at fault. Coaches don't play the games.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

bfizz,

Be careful, you're making a lot sense. That's combustible around here. :-)

Mike Stewart 2 years, 9 months ago

Who makes up these REAL standings, and how do they project wins and losses?

Regardless what the computer says, I'd go with the team that has 7 straight conference championships and is undefeated in conference play so far this year. Missouri is overachieving right now and will lose at least 3 more games this year in conference.

bville_hawk 2 years, 9 months ago

Except I'm not sure that Baylor can be characterized as a title contender. KU and then MU exposed their zone as being very soft and porous. Watch for the Bears to fade. I just don't see them having the coaching or the toughness to be in contention at the end.

KansasComet 2 years, 9 months ago

Big XII Champion seven years running. That says a lot. Final Fours do matter. Having a team with the potential to get to Final Fours year after year...I'll take that. I remember the lean years.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

Watch out. Comet, you're making too much sense.

Sense triggers thinking.

Thinking hurts some.

Pain triggers indolent lash outs.

Buckle that chin strap and be prepared to keep running to daylight.

Digression: Again, man, could Sayers run.

Damn, I wish we would see another one like him. Seeing him run made everyone feel freedom. Feeling freedom revives the best in human beings.

rhollinshed 2 years, 9 months ago

And you have how many? A BIG FAT 0. ( )

Since you are so much of a Missouri fan.....go to their site and spread your glee......or better yet....Tulane. A** Hole

bville_hawk 2 years, 9 months ago

rhollinghshed: Lighten up, you're being a jerk.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

Oh, mangiloid,

Just give us your takes, pitiful though they have been since I've taken to reading you for a few days, and let board rats post as they wish.

I don't want to stop you from airing your foolish POVs. I want you making a jackass of yourself as often as possible.

I just want you to stop telling others to stop. ;-)

We have site administrators to set boundaries for discourse here.

Really, no one needs you to tell us what we can and cannot say.

We grew up.

Do the same.

Join us in kibitzing about the game.

Don't be an oysvarf. :-)

Oops. I meant: be an oysvarf all you want.

Rock Chalk!

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

Oh, mangiloid,

Cheer up.

Reactionary orthodoxy does not become you.

If you want to know why an alias is not banned, just email the site administrator and ask. Our site admins always seem helpful. Our site administrator will give you a clear answer...if you really want to know.

But I wonder if you really want to know?

Sometimes I wonder if you really just want to express such a question as a means of attack posting.

Rhetorical questions used as smears are hardly necessary here.

Be of good cheer, mangiloid.

Love your fellow board rats and look deeply into your own alias to find out why you want to use rhetorical questions as smears?

Peace be with you. :-)

bad_dog 2 years, 9 months ago

No one should understand the Terms of Service more than someone who has themselves been banned. Right KSA 21-3503?

Krohnutz 2 years, 9 months ago

Wait, wait, I got a post banned one time for saying that 11am football games were terrible. Didn't even cuss as much in that post as this post.

Maybe I'm a goober, but I wish they would let us see the bans, I feel like I'm missing an exciting part of the thread. It is like softcore porn, it really is just some naked (bad) actors humping their umbilical region. It takes the Tebowner right out of it.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

won't work.

Robert Lucas rational expectations.

the sudden attack alias roll out is losing its jizz.

back to the media retreat.

get a new trick.

next.

april28 2 years, 9 months ago

Yes swimming in Elite 8's, now that is a real problem. I know that there are many, many, many schools just laughing at our terrible plight in basketball.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

Oh, mangiloid,

Its me again. Self is starting the stretch run of his contract.

Who should KU hire?

The potential candidates would seem to exclude Coach Consonants (nearly ready to retire, unless like perhaps Joe Paterno might conceivably have done, he were to choose to keep working into his 80s perhaps to keep the lid on some unseemly stuff).

Also, without putting too fine of a point on things, Jim Calhoun reputedly doesn't quite seem to have the right stuff ethically, and he seems rather close to flat lining at times.

Roy probably can't be attracted back, since he and Wanda rightly want to be close to family.

Calipari also seems off the list, because he seems very happy at UK, UK seems very happy with Cal, and its doubtful that some of his reputed approaches to recruiting would fly at KU, especially after 25 years of wonderful success without doing it Cal's reputed way.

So: get to it, will you, mangiloid?

Who do you want to bring into replace Bill Self right now?

We've got a Chancellor and AD and some rich alums willing to spend $6M at the drop of a hat to buy out contracts. $6M-$9M ought to buy out Self's contract right now. Rich alums as dissatisfied as you should be willing to shell out the bones no problem. So: who would you hire, after you buy out Bill's contract and send him packing?

Who would be better than Self?

This I gotta see! :-)

Cantkeepagooddudedown 2 years, 9 months ago

I'll bite Jaybate... I've got one for you.

Watch the game tonight... and look on the bench near Self... he's sitting over there somewhere.

dylans 2 years, 9 months ago

Not better but it is awesome to have a future head coach in the wings.

bennybob 2 years, 9 months ago

Obviosuly, the best choice is to keep Bill Self in the head coaching chair.

But if you put a gun to my head and forced me to give you a name of someone i think could step in and keep the program at its currently consistent high level, I'd have to say Bo Ryan.

That guy wins every year with teams that have talent levels KU fans (me) would riot over.

JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 9 months ago

"KU is also a half game behind Missouri in the REAL standings, for those of you that follow proper statistical analyses."

What exactly are you talking about? Conference standings: KU 6-0 MU 5-1 Advantage KU Now, if you want to look at statistical analysis, let's look ate the 2 most respected rankings, Pomeroy and Sagarin.

Ken Pomeroy: KU - #2 MU - #7 Advantage KU

Jeff Sagarin: KU - #2 MU - #5 Advantage KU

Or if you want to look at the more accurate Sagarin "Predictor": KU - #2 MU - #7 Advantage KU

So again, what are you talking about?

JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 9 months ago

I see...the one that voices in your head whisper to you. Got it.

Chris Shaw 2 years, 9 months ago

There is a number of ways of looking at that stat. Final 4's are what matter so it is a little upsetting that Self doesn't have more than 1 Final 4 to his name in his 8 years in the Big Dance at KU.

With that said, He has 4 Elite 8's, a Sweet 16 and then a Second Round loss, and 2 first round losses that we all would like to forget about (Actually, that first round loss to Bradley really wasn't that bad of a loss).

Yes, I do think Self should have more Final 4's considering some of the "Bad Losses", but I do give credit to Self for putting Kansas in the position of competing to go to the Final 4 basically every other season.

I don't know if I can afford any more heartbreaking losses as a fan so hopefully the tide will change, but I do give Self props for putting his teams in the position to go to the Final 4. It just hasn't worked out where he has more to his name.

ParisHawk 2 years, 9 months ago

"the talent level from top to bottom is down from what we are used to with Self's teams."

Disagree with the "from top". Self has not always had two starting bigs better than TRob and Withey, and his best guard is better than last year's best guard (TT both years).

Or else you just mean "overall" in which case you're right.

With the way the top 5 have all improved, add our ineligible freshmen to the mix and you've got a typical Self team.

ParisHawk 2 years, 9 months ago

Agreed, but your original point wasn't comparing this year and last year, but this year and all Self's past teams. If you just take the two starting bigs from every Self year and compare with TRob and Withey, this year is not the worst.

What I'm saying is that the dropoff in ability is much more evident on the bench than in the starting five, and our top two guys compare with the top two in previous years.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

kusportsdorkcom,

Please tell us what you argue, not what you would argue.

It suggests you are either not sure, or not courageous enough, to stand up for what you really think. :-)

Are you arguing this point with ParisHawk, or are you just posing the hypothetical that you could argue this point? :-)

Well, your insecure, flaccid conditionals or not, Thomas Robinson is pretty darned good, no matter how one measures it.

And as the season progresses I argue (notice I did not use the flaccid "would" to condition my statement) that it may turn out that Thomas actually has a better starting team around him than, say, Marcus had around him. Though I am on record as having been a solid fan of Tyrel Reed, Brady Morningstar and TT last season, and of thinking Kieff blossomed into a very effective big man last season, as this season progresses, it becomes increasingly likely that this year's team could beat last year's team in a regular season game.

TT has a good hand and is shooting 50% from trey, as well as just dominating his opponents offensively and defensively. TT is waaaaay better than he was last season, because because of maturity, a year of experience at PG, and his hand injury being no longer.

EJ can do things defensively this season that Tyrel could not do last season, though EJ has a ways to go before he becomes as effective at stripping and muscling opponents as was Tyrel. EJ's trifectation sucks so far. Tyrel was much the better trey shooter last season even after mid season when Tyrel's foot injury reduced him to 36% from his usual 40%+ of prior years. But it is still reasonable to expect EJ to break out of his version of Brady's mother of all slumps last season. If EJ shoots back to 40%, with EJ superior range on defense, then EJ has to be judged at least narrowly the better player compared with Tyrel.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

Travis Releford has sharply exceeded Brady Morningstar as a scorer on a couple of occasions, and has worked relentlessly to become as good of a help defender and ball mover glue man as Brady was. He is not always as error free as Brady was his last season, but then this is Travis' first season as a starting glue man, so its hard to expect. And good as Brady was in on-ball defense, and he was among the best Self has had at the 3 in this regard (excepting BRush), Travis on-ball defense is turning into something fiercer and more constricting than either BRush or Brady in its physicality and aggressiveness. Travis is very close to being as good as Brady was in a global regard, right now. By seasons end, i believe there is a very good chance that Travis Releford will exceed Brady Morningstar in every aspect, except maybe post feed and lobs. Hence, its seems KU is, or soon will be, better at this position than last year.

Now compare Jeff Withey with Markieff Morris at the 5. Doing this is very tough, for one simple reason. Kieff had an anomalously good outside shot for a big man, while Jeff has an anomalously good shot blocking ability for a big man. They don't compare well. These players are kind of apples and oranges. Kieff tended to play high post and do more from the high post than Jeff does. Jeff tends to play back side post to Thomas. But among their overlapping duties, it seems clear that Kieff still holds an edge over Jeff, because Kieff was two seasons into starting last season, while Jeff is just in his first season. Down stream, Jeff could exceed Kieff, if he develops as much as Kieff did his last season, or at least match him. Edge to Kieff.

So: at 3 of four positions, TRob appears on track to have a better supporting cast than Marcus had. And inside, Jeff is on track to be only a little less good than Kieff, but the shortfall is time on the job related, rather than talent related.

I look at the above and I don't see that "...its his team and he doesn't have to share the spotlight with anyone."

Quite the opposite. Tyshawn has taken over several games. Travis took over one game. Withey has been less consistent than Kieff, as one would expect of a first year starter, but there have been several games where he contributed just as much as Kieff did.

One thing that seems very likely is this: Thomas Robinson is almost certain to be drafted higher than either Twin was.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

Thomas Robinson also seems likely to be the Number One player taken in the NBA draft, if he continues to double double the rest of the season as he has so far.

Thomas Robinson is, much as Kieff did last season, undergoing a meteoric rise in the level of his game.

Thomas Robinson is a monster rebounder, a player with a couple terrific post moves, a player who is now demonstrating that he can face the basket and play, and play in transition. Were he to stay another season, it is likely he would develop an outside shot. And he has already fixed what seemed to be his Achilles Heel--FT shooting.

If he improves much more this season alone, he is going to become the third best big man KU has ever had behind Chamberlain and Manning. If he plateaus, he will probably rank just behind Simien and Kieff and Marcus.

Thomas Robinson is one of the rarest, most exceptional athletes ever to play in the paint for KU.

Were he to come back next season, it seems almost certain that Chamberlain would remain beyond him, but that even equaling Danny Manning might be with his grasp.

Thomas started very poorly at KU and this fact overshadows in persons' minds how exceptional he has become.

Manning was a great, great basketball player fundamentally and physically from the moment he stepped on the floor, because of his father, Ed Manning working on his game with him.

Thomas Robinson came to KU with nothing but big muscles, decent height, a fast motor, and a desire to be the best. His skills were nearly nonexistent. He literally could not walk and chew gum on a basketball floor his first season, because he was overwhelmed with how much he had to learn.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

Oops, I left out Raef, and Nick in this list of bigs that Thomas could wind up just behind, were he to plateau now instead of keep getting better.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

But now he has learned most of what Ed Manning had taught Danny before Danny ever got to KU.

And now Thomas is getting a chance to play and master the game.

Thomas Robinson does not now appear to have the kind of beautiful fluidity of motion that Danny Manning seemed to be born with to such a degree that Danny could have played point guard.

But after seeing Thomas cruise up and down the floor in transition this season dribbling the ball, I am quite convinced that Thomas Robinson will be able to become that unusual NBA 4--the guy that is a monster rebounder that can also play transition and put it on the deck. He is not there yet, but Thomas has learned how to learn under Danny Manning. At this stage of his game, Thomas Robinson reminds me of Karl Malone in college and when he first started in the NBA. At first, Karl had no outside gun, but he could run the floor, rebound with anyone and put it on the deck. Shortly, in the NBA, he committed to developing an outside shot and became to everyone's surprise an excellent outside shooter.

If Thomas Robinson develops and NBA 3, something even Danny Manning never really mastered, Thomas Robinson could become a super star on the level of Karl Malone. He is that special physically. No, he is not as much of a wide body as Malone was, but even Malone did not have the shoulder strength that Thomas packs.

Thomas is still developing. Though he has the body of a Greek god even now, he is several years from maturing fully into a man's physique. It is frankly overwhelming to think how good he will be, when he matures physically, and were he to develop an NBA 3, as Malone did.

Frankly, learning how to shoot free throws is a bigger challenge than developing an NBA trifecta IMHO.

So: since he has climbed the hurdle of FT shooting, I think there is a reasonable chance that we are looking at a player who has a decent chase of becoming the Karl Malone of his generation.

Persons with the kind of physical tools Thomas has, plus the skill of "getting better" can be players with vastly higher ceilings than other players that seem to be better than them at any given stage of their career.

TRob is never going to be a Wilt Chamberlain.

But Karl Malone is in his grasp, even though he got a late start at the game.

Some guys just are late bloomers.

Kenny Nall 2 years, 9 months ago

Not to undersell this team because I was honestly thinking to myself earlier today that this has for the most part become another well-oiled machine under Bill Self. But that's just it though, it's a Bill Self coached team with a load of talent that naturally comes to KU. So the notion that KU is a good team that's probably getting better in the second half of the season is not very newsworthy but is nonetheless something that KU fans really should be continually proud of and grateful for.

Andrew Washington 2 years, 9 months ago

I really enjoy watching KU play this year.. this is turning out to be one of my favorite teams to watch! I love the tough non conference schedule and the experiences we've had in Maui and The Garden. A strong sense of team chemistry has developed since the start of the season and people around the country are starting to notice. It was mentioned that KU leads the nation in dunks with around 5 or 6 a game.. alot of people are saying that Kansas is playing great this year. I think that we've beat more ranked opponents than anyone else so far. We have a pretty rapid rise in the polls as well... this is the type of rise that I remember with some of Roy's teams here. The best part is that we are playing with passion and Taylor is starting to show his REAL potential. If EJ were to develop into a more consistent threat then we could be a threat to win the national championship! T-ROB is the leading POY candidate and Bill Self should win COY if we win the big 12 outright. Combine that with a potential national championship ( as well as a big 12) and this team could go down as very special. I just get the feeling that this is a special team..even with that close win over Texas! (Its never easy for us to win in Austin) I haven't had this feeling about one of our teams since the 02 and 03 squads as well as the 07 and 08 teams. Let's continue playing with a purpose!

SaltLakeHawk 2 years, 9 months ago

I haven't had this feeling about one of our teams since the '11, '10, '08, '07, '05, '04, and '03 squads

Bill's had an impressive decade

Andrew Washington 2 years, 9 months ago

Very True...although I have to say that the '11 and '10 squads didn't seem to play to their potential most of the time..they were kinda like this years UNC squad... they had a ton of talent but lacked energy and intensity and just "turned on" when they needed to a lot of the time. I Still really liked those squads but I'm very impressed by how this team buys into self's style and coaching philosophy more so than the really loaded teams. We are playing great in all of our games so far (minus USC and Davidson). We're not very deep-maybe the extra playing time makes for more development and chemistry.

Bangkok_Jayhawk 2 years, 9 months ago

I growing quite fond of "rebuilding" years.

John Randall 2 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, really – it's an ugly way to play, and makes it much easier to plan the defense against a team. In the Tx game, a ball hog shot 26 times, made 7 and went to the line 7 times while a distributor made 7 of only 13 shots and also went to the line 7times. Their teammates were allowed 35 and 43 shot attempts, respectively.

Which player had the better game? Whose team won?

ParisHawk 2 years, 9 months ago

It's never a down year for high expectations from board rats!

I can see it from here: we'll have a better season than anyone had a right to expect in October, and people will complain and say it wasn't enough.

Foul trouble or an injury, any injury, to a starter and we go from a top 5-10 team to a 15-20 team at best. How many times can we expect a starter to have surgery and not miss a beat, much less a game?? The Texas game showed how this team is walking on the razor's edge: we were so lucky to be able to play our starters at the end...

I'm enjoying this terrific ride as we all are, but I'm trying to keep an even keel.

Andy Tweedy 2 years, 9 months ago

My favorite posts are from those that say we can't beat mid-majors, should recruit the types of players that play at mid-majors and then immediately follow it up with guys like Teahan and Releford aren't good enough to play for KU.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

ParisHawk,

Good to see you flexing your keyboard. You exude wit, swagger and insight today. Comps to you.

kufankam 2 years, 9 months ago

phawk,

I agree 100%. I, like most, am just thrilled that this team has played with the toughness that we have become acustomed to under Self. However, I do think you are spot on that we need to keep a level head and understand that the toughest games of our conference slate are yet to be played. I am not saying that we shouldn't be excited about how this team has played. I, like you, think that keeping perspective is a good thing. I hope that we play with the same toughness every road game, but if we slip up... it's not the end of the world. Bill has shown and is showing that he can coach EVERY team he has to be a contender. Rockchalk!

Brianna Zaleski 2 years, 9 months ago

You are a buzzkill. Take time to stop and smell the roses, jerk.

Jayhawk444 2 years, 9 months ago

We will know a lot more about this team by Feb 14. By then we will have played 6 games that include 4 roadies at ISU, MU, BU, and KSU.

Andy Tweedy 2 years, 9 months ago

Somebody help me out here, on a slightly different basketball question. We have five guys committed for next year. Assuming Robinson leaves, that would free up three scholarships with Teahan and Taylor graduating. I realize the talk is that Langford will be paying Wesley's tution next year, but that would mean we have four scholarships to give. We have five players coming in next year, providing they are all eligible. Am I missing something, or is the assumption that somebody will either transfer or be shown the door?

Dyrk Dugan 2 years, 9 months ago

we're already short on the schollies this year. we only have 9 kids suiting up that were recruited to play basketball on scholarship. Teahan, Tyshawn and TRob (probably) are gone....so now we're at six. you add Ben, Jamari, Lucas, Peters, Ellis and White (Adams i'm very iffy if he'll be here) and you have 12....which still leaves one for Shabazz Muhammad, if he would like to come. (or anyone for that matter).

Eric Baker 2 years, 9 months ago

Are you counting Ben and Jamari in the five? I could be wrong, but I think they may already be on scholarship right now. So that means 3 new guys for 3 vacant scholarships.

Andy Tweedy 2 years, 9 months ago

But that's why I'm asking. Ben and Jamari are on scholarship, but there are 5 incoming players: Ellis, Lucas, Peters (already signed LOI) and Adams and White (verballed).

Tony Bandle 2 years, 9 months ago

Can you spell t-r-a-n-s-f-e-r..somebody is going to go.

John Randall 2 years, 9 months ago

You aren't listening. This year, we don't have a full complement of scholarship players, by at least two – we held back three for the "partials" including Braeden Anderson, whose scholarship went to Justin Wesley after the appeals were denied. If Justin returns to walk-on status, There are six open spots (McLemore, Traylor plus four new guys).

Kye Clark 2 years, 9 months ago

Well let's see:

Scholarship players on roster now who will be returning next year (assuming TRob goes pro and no one else leaves), not including Wesley who may be asked to give up his scholarship: 1. Withey 2. EJ 3. Releford 4. Young 5. Tharpe 6. Lindsay 7. BMac 8. Traylor

Add in the 5 from next year: 9. Ellis 10. Peters 11. Lucas 12. White 13. Adams

So you're not missing something. As it stands now Wesley will already have to give up his scholie just to make room for the players we already know are coming in. Now as to your question, I don't know if it's an assumption, but one might speculate that should Shabazz or Parker commit to KU that Lindsay could possibly be "shown the door". Also, as mvjayhawk pointed out, Adams scholarship is tentative on his ability to academically qualify. Should he fail to do so we wouldn't need to free one up.

dylans 2 years, 9 months ago

Could Weiss give Peters a football scholly?

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

If the team continues to dominate, and if the starting 5 continues to get better, as EJ, Jeff and Travis ought to do, we could easily see more departures for the NBA than just TT and Thomas.

If EJ begins to shoot 40% from trey to go along with his incredible defensive play, he is almost certainly to rise up the draft charts and he could jump. He's better right now than Selby was, when Selby was taken.

Jeff really doesn't have to improve very much at all to be drafted at the end of this season, because the NBA drafts big on the come. If I were a GM, and needed a big two seasons from now. I wouldn't hesitate to take Jeff now. Its dead certain that after next season Jeff will be a lottery pick just with the normal improvement trajectory of a big starting full tim for the second season. So: why wait? Take Jeff now and let him get better running back and forth between your bench and your D-League, and get him for a lesser price now than next year.

Next, there's Travis. Travis has a boot on his foot and it is keeping him from canning treys at 40%. Without that boot, he would literally be an animal this season. Here again, if I were an NBA GM and needed a young 2 that could play vicious defense immediately, and if could afford to gamble a little, I would spec on Travis. 2 with his kind of strength, bounce and defense don't come along that often. Further, if you understand how good he is with the boot on, you know he's going to be insane next season with the boot off. So: why wait till next season to pay full price, when you can get him a lot cheaper this year?

So given talent at other schools this year--leaving aside all the irrelevant media hype of other players--after last year's experience with Selby and Kieff being grabbed, Self realistically has to prepare for TT, EJ, TRob and Jeff jumping.

If the team develops best case, then they will all probably be drafted.

If the team develops mid case, then he'll just lose 2-3.

If the team plateaus now, he just loses TT and TRob.

That's why Self is stocking the cupboard.

And there is always the possibility of a Royce.

What Self is up to makes complete sense to me.

bennybob 2 years, 9 months ago

With the exception of the one and done experiments, KU players don't tend to go pro untill they've had one season to be "the guy".

Next years team will be EJs, Relefords, and Witheys to carry. I dont see any of them leaving before that

Kye Clark 2 years, 9 months ago

Jaybate - I agree Self is doing the right thing by continuing to recruit despite the appearance that he doesn't have any more schollies to give out. My post was merely an illustration to show that we are indeed, as things stand as most assume, maxed out.

As for your speculation that we could end up losing more...I guess it's possible. I don't see it happening, unless someone goes off. I don't see the NBA GMs flocking to Travis & EJ's defensive prowess, nor do I give them credit to draft with the foresight that you mention as far as getting them now on the cheap. They could be second round picks, as was Selby, but why come out early without reasonable assurances of a guaranteed contract? Especially when next season lays out nicely for all three of them.

Ben Kane 2 years, 9 months ago

"rankings are effectively meaningless."

this will be my mantra of the day as every kentucky fan in the world is going to stop by my office to make sure i know that they are the new number 1.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

cberry,

After years of watching, it appears to me that rankings have two functions:

1) hype certain teams to create over optimistic expectations on the part of betting fools; and

2) enable oddsmakers to set spreads based on those hyped expectations that in turn contribute to the shearing of the sheep.

This ratings appear to accomplish handsomely.

Just look at the size and profitability of the sports gaming industry.

:-)

JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 9 months ago

Jaybate, "2) enable oddsmakers to set spreads based on those hyped expectations that in turn contribute to the shearing of the sheep."

Do you have a clue how the spread is set?

Vegas does not give a rat's behind as to what the rankings are. They simply set up the spread as the number they feel half of the bettors will bet over and half under; this is why the line is constantly tweaked to balance the bets. The ideal pattern is when exactly one half of the money is bet on one side and the other half on the other. Vegas does not make money on who wins or loses; Vegas makes money on the vig.

Ben Kane 2 years, 9 months ago

don't forget to overyhype certain teams so that outlets such as espn can continue to talk about teams like duke despite not being as good as other teams.

Tony Bandle 2 years, 9 months ago

I would temper that statement by the fact that, sub-consciously, I think rankings effect the NCAA Tournanment Committee and help with a more favorable seeding.

rob4lb 2 years, 9 months ago

That hasn't exactly guaranteed success in the tournament the last two years.

Dee Shaw 2 years, 9 months ago

Who cares about rankings and Top 25's. All I care about is winning 6 games in a row at the end of March. That's what ALL KU fans should worry about.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

I would only amend this to "that's what all KU fans should look forward to." :-)

kufankam 2 years, 9 months ago

I would rank this amendment/comment in the "Top 5" of a "Top 25 Posts Poll"...

Robert Brown 2 years, 9 months ago

Maybe this is a new trend, but I think the high ranking for KU is also an indication there are no elite teams in college basketball this year. At the beginning of the year, I thought it was UNC, but they have underachieved. Kentucky looks real good and I haven't seen enough of Syracuse to make an assessment. All other schools have flaws including KU. With that said, going into the season, I would have been happy to make the Sweet 16 thinking it would take some time to get to the level we were the last two years. The combination of the competitive landscape of college basketball and great coaching tha t has optimized then talent on the team, makes a trip to the Final Four very achievable.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

HouTex,

You're making a lot of sense for living in Texas.

Maybe you can be the butterfly wing that beats and starts a storm of political change down there to go along with all the great things Texans are doing on their own.

By the way, if you have not bought a flats boat and are not going down to the coast off Galveston, or somewhere, to fish, you must. I know someone in Houston, who remains the greatest fisherman I have known. After having fished all over the world, for 20 years, he finally just said screw the travel, and said fishing the Gulf is the best there is and decided to stop traveling anywhere else and keep his hook wet right there. Don't let a few oil slicks discourage you. he says there are still plenty of fish to catch.

newmedia 2 years, 9 months ago

Keep up the hard work kids. The rest will take care of itself. It's the best times of your lives!

Mike Barnhart 2 years, 9 months ago

Had Elijah and Travis progressed a little faster, either one could have taken minutes from Tyrell and Brady last year. That may have made a difference against VCU!

My point is, some of the surprise talent on this years team was also here last year, just not quite ready for primetime.

Jack Wilson 2 years, 9 months ago

Or, not quite given the opportunity to be ready for primetime .. that might be a bit more precise.

REHawk 2 years, 9 months ago

Whatever happens with the rankings today, or the final conference or national outcome, at the moment I am a very proud and gleeful Jayhawk fan, relieved at last to be pounding a bass drum on Tyshawn Taylor's bandwagon, hoping beyond hope, perhaps, that this squad can remain free of lingering injury, once again amazed at the coaching acumen and iron will which Bill Self has instilled in his troops. These Jayhawks are taking us on a merry ride.

Kyle Neuer 2 years, 9 months ago

Talk to me after the Mizzou game. Until then, it's all guessing/projecting.

Tony Bandle 2 years, 9 months ago

2011-12.................2012-13..............2013-14 Taylor - SR.............####..................#### Teahan - SR...........####..................#### Robinson - JR.........####..................#### Releford - JR...........SR....................#### Johnson - JR...........SR....................#### Withey - JR.............SR....................#### Young - JR..............SR....................#### Wesley - SO...........JR.....................SR Tharpe - FR.............SO....................JR Lindsey - FR............SO....................JR BenMac - RS...........FR....................SO Traylor - RS.............FR....................SO Ellis#######............FR....................SO White######...........FR.....................SO Peters#####............FR.....................SO Adams#####...........FR.....................SO Lucas######...........FR.....................SO Frankenkamp############...............FR Greene#################................FR

Just a current snap shot of our recruiting but as you all can see, we're going to be really, really good next season and really, really young the season after that!!

Tony Bandle 2 years, 9 months ago

PS Sorry about the format...but I'm sure you all get the idea!! :)

Scott Smetana 2 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for the great post. Awesome to know we have some great talent coming in. Makes it much easier to handle this 'off' year. haha:)

John Randall 2 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, it's really skimpy to not be able to use spreadsheet format on this site.

Tony Bandle 2 years, 9 months ago

Ah well, wouldn't know how to use it, anyway.

Steve Gantz 2 years, 9 months ago

I love my Wisconsin Badgers almost as much as my Jayhawks and Kenpom has them 3rd in the country, so there's some flaws in their ranking system. We're #2 by the way.

Ben Kane 2 years, 9 months ago

agreed, kenpom is also flawed. The concept of rankings is flawed in general. we beat ohio state, they are above us. kentucky beat us and we are above them, etc

BucknellJayhawk3 2 years, 9 months ago

Saw on nbadraft.net that Withey and Johnson are projected 2nd rounders. I wonder if Taylor will get some love in the draft if he continues to play this way. If he's putting up 20pts, 5 assists, and only 1-2 turnovers maybe he could make the tail end of the 2nd round.

Ben Kane 2 years, 9 months ago

Bilas called him the top point guard in the nation over the last two weeks.

Steve Gantz 2 years, 9 months ago

I'm now starting to believe this team has a shot at the Final 4. We've played the best, Kentucky to a first half standstill before wilting. We were a potential blown call away from beating Duke. We beat OSU obviously with the asterisk. GTown has been ranked most of the year. A strange loss to Davidson is worrisome, but we've apparently turned the corner as Big 12 play has begun. The obvious difference has been the play of Taylor. It was like Self uncaged him and let him loose. He's been unbelievable.

Kye Clark 2 years, 9 months ago

Agree both that I'm a believer that we can make a Final 4 run with this team, and that Taylor has been the difference lately. The worrisome thing to me is wondering if we can afford Taylor to have an off night. If we're matched up with someone decent in the tourney, and Taylor is not carrying us as he has for stretches in recent games, will EJ & Releford step up? Releford has shown he has the ability, I just want to see one of the two of them asserting themselves every game as that third scoring option.

Steve Gantz 2 years, 9 months ago

Yep, that's a concern. There were times (and I'm not much of a defensive expert/analyst) that the other day I really wondered what EJ and releford were doing on the court. Of course we've been saying about EJ ever since he's been here that we can see the explosive ability he has, but we keep waiting for it to appear on a consistent basis.

Chris Shaw 2 years, 9 months ago

I haven't done this stat since the K-State game, but there is one stat I'm very concerned with and that's 3 point FG attempts by the Jayhawk.

If you look in the last two games, I think their numbers are right where they need to be and I would put the Baylor and Texas wins right up there with the best KU has played all season as well as probably 2 of the 5 (K-State, Ohio State, and G-Town) wins KU has had all season.


Baylor: 6-11 from 3 point

Texas: 5-15 from 3 point

That's 42 percent and right where they should be IMO.


As for the other 3 games

Tech: 9-21 from 3 point

OU: 4-19 from 3 point

ISU: 8-26 from 3 point

That's 31.8 percent for that 3 game stretch and OU and ISU played very well against the Jayhawks.


I think the number that is most disturbing is that in the first 25 minutes of the ISU game and that first 5 minutes of the second half where KU was down 9 points at home..............KU attempted 17 of it's 26 attempts during that span. Wow!

I think that stat alone says that KU is not working to their strength and allowing ISU (Just like Davidson) to push KU out of their comfort zone.

I know this sounds like a broken record and this is now the third time I've broken down these numbers this season, but for Wissox's claim just above (Final 4 Bound) to occur................KU is going to have to limit it's 3 point FG attempts.

Kansas has a smaller room for error than most teams so it's got to be more consistent, more efficient, and more focused on it's offensive possessions than past KU teams IMO. So...............limit the 3 point attempts, increase your odds or chances of coming away with a "W".

Keep it up boys! For the most part, I like the results of these last two games.

Ben Kane 2 years, 9 months ago

i'm not concerned about percentages, but rather shot selection. in the past (not counting the last few games) when we got down or forced out of our game plan it seemed we just started hoisting them up. when we play our game and let the 3s flow within the offense I think we are all good.

Chris Shaw 2 years, 9 months ago

Exactly, you can see that trend during the ISU game as well as the Davidson game.

RockChalk26 2 years, 9 months ago

On a bright EJ note, he did drive to the basket 3 times against Texas for easy layups. That's about 3 more then his season average. If he can get that number up around 6, I think his game will get drastically better.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

Lets break these strategic dynamics into three categories:

Trigger 1) Self varying coaching strategies against top opponents vs. lesser opponents;

Trigger 2) Injuries to KU players shooting treys; and

Trigger 3) Varying coaching strategies used by strong opponents and weak opponents.

Trigger 1 Examples

Consider that Self routinely sends his team out flat against lesser opponents, to save their amped up performances for good teams. It is not surprising that many of KU's worst shooting performances come against weak teams. They are not amped up to a razor's edge of performance. Among many things, they don't shoot well, because of it.

Next consider Self routinely plays lesser players more minutes against weaker opponents to try to get them some work. Lesser players shoot less well. Trey percentages go down.

Next consider that when games are close together, Self makes a choice about which game to use his starters big minutes, and which game to use his subs quite a bit. Sometimes he picks the first game, sometimes the second game. But predictably, when he uses his subs more, trey shooting attempts are apt to go up and accuracy is apt to go down. Accuracy goes down because lesser players are taking more shots. I'll deal with why attempts go up under Trigger 3--the opposing coach's strategic effect on trey efficiency.

In all of these examples, coaching strategy drives declines in trey accuracy, not some structural problem of undisciplined play, or bad shooting.

Trigger 2 Examples:

Consider that Travis hurt his ankle and started wearing a boot. Self probably decreased his trey shooting, while he played with the boot, because his accuracy probably declined. Injury, not a structural problem of bad shooting, or undisciplined shot selection, caused the problem, or at least an element of it.

We never know all the injuries players have, and even when we do we often do not know until they are uninjured how much the injury hampers shooting accuracy. Last season TT seemed a structurally bad shooter, but it turned out that his shooting hand was a real mess. He had surgery. This year he is shooting about 50% from trey. Question: will Trav get better this season? If he does his trey shooting may spike dramatically.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

Oops, this section above was supposed to go second, not first. Apologies.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

Three point shooting percentages are a very complicated stat to analyze and explain insightfully, once you start breaking the game up into shooting percentages during segments. You have to go way below the surface to explain trey shooting numbers in short stretches. Because I don't like data mining for free, I tend to stay away from segment analysis of trey shooting. I went on at length about his regarding a Newell post a few weeks back. But since you've opened it up, I'll try to explain the QA problems again.

The essence of it is this: the only stats that one can validly relate to the final score are the full game statistics. Its a 40 minute game. All final scores reflect only what happened over that 40 minute stretch. So: all statistics for explaining that final score buck the least logical fallacies when they are stats based on 40 minute numbers.

When you abstract stats for a 5 minute segment here, or there, in a game, the only valid inference you can make from these stats is about that 5 minute segment of the game. They tell you nothing about the final score.

Since winning and losing depends on totals at the end of 40 minutes, what happened in this or that segment cannot be meaningfully generalized.

Regarding three point shooting, it just doesn't matter whether you hit your shots early or late, except in the sense that hitting them early usually puts you in a lead that the creates a strategic ripple effect throughout the rest of the game that is extremely complex to quantify because of the dynamics of emergent complexity. It is not that it could not be quantified, it is that it is extremely complicated and costly to do so in a meaningful way. Every good play and every bad play feeds into an evolving dynamic of a game that over time has increasingly interrelated cascades that quickly boggle the mind.

So: while your initial full game stats can be taken pretty much at face value at least in terms of logical validity, your inferences based on the first 25 minutes of one game and the first five minutes of the second half of that same game mean almost nothing analytically speaking about anything but that game.

But there are more analytical traps awaiting beyond the strictly QA and inference problem I have just pointed out.

They are traps related to attributing poor shooting percentages to either being bad shooters, or as you do, being being too undisciplined in their shot selection, when in fact strategic dynamics may be triggering the phenomenon instead.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

Trigger 3 Examples:

Not just Self, but the opposing coach also has to make strategic choices that affect our trey shooting accuracy.

If you are a really weak team, your only chance is to pack it inside against KU, force them to take more treys, and hope KU has an off night. Against a your weak team, you know Self is not going to amp them up on an edge. The chances are good that they will not shoot great, but they will take a lot of shots. This is not a structural problem of bad shooting, or undisciplined shot selection. This is a problem of an opposing coach's defensive strategy of packing the paint intermingling with Self playing lesser players more and a net effect of rising FGAs and declining accuracy.

If you are a strong team inside that can play KU head up, you may over guard the trey stripe for certain parts of the game and not others.

If you are Baylor and play zone, you may find KU is too powerful inside to play zone agains and you may spend more time in your man to man. The effect is that trey percentages fall and so on.

Frankly, KU seems to me to be a pretty good three point shooting team, when Self sends them with their A game these days, but they are streaky shooters and can have long slumps, as well as long hot streaks.

If we were still getting sped up and playing out of control, as we did against UK early, then I would be worried about what you are worried about.

But I think we are a good young team that Self has had to do an awfully lot of in game developmental work with. In the big games, since the break, our guys have performed exceptionally well. Against the lesser opponents, when Self has sent them out flat and then worked on a lot stuff with both his starters, and occasionally with his subs, then we have shot poorly.

Injuries have hampered Travis.

Slayr has suggested an old injury maybe hampering EJ.

Trav might get better.

If Slayr is right about EJ, he might not.

I will stop here assuming I have made my point about the complexities of analyzing trey percentages.

Thanks for making me think.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

BigManU,

First, thanks for taking the time to grind it out with me here and state your case as clearly as possible.

Only time will tell which of us is right.

I can only say that I am very confident that most of the losses and close wins when KU has a horrendous shooting night are against teams that Self is gambling on sending them out flat, the opposing team is packing the paint and giving them more shots on the 3 ring. So: a flat KU team takes lots of them and misses lots of them.

My hypothesis explains why more shots are taken and why more are missed against certain lesser teams and also why KU tends to perform so well agains the good teams when Self sends 'em out amped up.

Your hypothesis explains the poor performances, but not the good ones.

As a result, I am inclined to stick with my explanation, because it has a straightforward driver--Self's coaching choice about sending them out flat, or amped, and because it explains both phenomena.

But again, time and games will tell.

Rock chalk.

Chris Shaw 2 years, 9 months ago

Jaybate: I understand what you're saying, and I do agree that taking segments of certain games isn't the most ideal component to identifying the problem, but in this instance...........it's about as close as you can get IMO.

The problem at hand is KU's inability to close out "Big Games" under pressure situations against supposedly lessor athletic teams over the past 2 seasons since 2010 (Actually 2009 regular season). I think that's what we have identified (At least I have identified) as the problem.

Going back and re-watching a majority of those "Losses" and examining the box scores, there is one glaring statistic that sticks out above all the rest..................3 point FG attempts in those games.

Now, as Chuckberry stated, and I fully agree with that assessment, I'm not as worried about 3 point FG percentage as I am in the number of good shots taken within the flow of the game and the attempts that result from that flow, tempo, or pace!

With all of this said, to truly understand the dynamics of this "Flow" and taking the right shot within the confines of the game you have to look at the wins as well as the losses.

So, all of those losses over the last couple of years coupled with wins such as Lehigh (First Round In 2010), Richmond (Sweet 16 last year) the stretch after the Davidson loss before conference, and now the Oklahoma and Iowa state wins where KU played badly in big stretches.

Even in wins, Jaybate, KU jacks up more 3 point attempts against these squads and I'm not sure why. I don't know the answer! The only thing I can do is point it out and try to show at least IMO during losses and during big stretches in "W's" that when KU jacks up those shots, they are either getting beat or losing.

That's why the Iowa State, even though KU had a great comeback, game scares me so much during that 25 minute stretch! What happens if that 25 minute stretch turns into a 40 minute stretch like it did against UNI, VCU, or Davidson? We lose and we are right back to square one...............trying to identify the problem! I may be only a fan, but I truly believe that is KU"s biggest achilles heal this year. Some may think it's turnovers (TT), or rebounding, or whatever, but I truly believe 3 point attempts need to be monitored this year.

Chris Shaw 2 years, 9 months ago

For once, I would like KU to lose playing their style of ball (Hi-Lo) and get beat in the NCAA tourney because we flat out got beat. Not because we didn't pay attention to the scouting report, jacked up too many 3's or because the water cooler wasn't in the right location.

I would be more comfortable losing shooting 6-13 from 3 point range and those kids playing their hearts than losing shooting 2-21 from 3 point range simply because the kids lost their composure.

I think this team can truly be stubborn enough to play the true Hi-Lo basketball that Self has always envisioned, the way you envision it with Okie Ball, Jaybate. To be honest, that's the only way I can see this team making a deep run! Stubborn and playing true old style Okie Ball!

Steve Gantz 2 years, 9 months ago

There's a pretty hilarious thread here: espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/post/_/id/45784/big-12-power-rankings-6 A bunch of Missouri fans whining about their runt of the family status.

Kye Clark 2 years, 9 months ago

Good stuff. Reading about them whining about "Bill Self wants to end the rivalry" is high comedy!

Micky Baker 2 years, 9 months ago

Tom,

You seem to have a short memory. Do you remember the headline for another article Gary Bedore wrote recently?

(Mid)major bummer: Davidson proves KU ‘not that good’

I think that most true blue Jayhawk fans are pleased with the season up to this point. I think that having 4 losses at this point of the season would be acceptable, and that get's Kansas State into the top 25. I wonder which top 25 team isn't "good".

bennybob 2 years, 9 months ago

Depth is still the biggest weakness of this team and we have yet to play a game were that weakness has been properly exploited.

I'm still worried about running into teams that can effectively get the ball inside and go right at Trob. I thought Baylor would be that team, but those were some of the softness "bigs" i've seen with NBA hype in a long time.

The true test for this team will be how they respond when Trob gets into serious foul trouble

justinryman 2 years, 9 months ago

Devils advocate.

What if it's not the other teams taking it at him, but that he is avoiding making cheap and worthless fouls? Maybe for once a KU player is getting the benefit of the doubt on a call here or there?

He isn't getting those silly reach in calls 30 ft from the basket like he used to, he is playing D with his feet and not his hands. He doesn't go over the back and he is usually the one in position for rebounds on both sides of the ball.

Now for a team to actually take it at him, would rely on two things. A really good coach, or players that would actually follow the coaches game plan and not try to make it look like a pick up game, trying to make the game about "their game" and not a team game.

Chris Shaw 2 years, 9 months ago

I'm not too worried to be honest! Self has never used a deep bench during the NCAA tournament when he supposedly has had "Depth" so not having it doesn't change much IMO. Just don't get hurt and we'll be okay!

Jack Wilson 2 years, 9 months ago

My .. what a few wins does to expectations. And here I was at the beginning of the season espousing my philosophical, one season change to "enjoy the ride." And now you all have spoiled it talking Final Four.

Really, the wins change the expectations.

But this is more fun, isn't it? Lower expectations. A team clearly excelling due to superior coaching and preparation(sorry KULA). A team that also clearly has more upside .. see Withey, EJ, and Releford .. who can plainly make strides to the positive.

Don't be surprised if we hit a rough patch to bring us back to earth. There are a couple tough stretches ahead. Or an early loss in the Big 12 tourney. This is not a super team. But this team has demonstrated that it has what it takes to win its last six games. There are no super teams period. No team this season is as good as any of the Final Four teams in 2008. But what team has improved more .. Kentucky or Kansas? Conventional wisdom was that Kentucky would improve in sharper manner .. I don't think so.

What we are seeing before our eyes is a team building character. Defining itself. I see it in Withey's aggressiveness, in TRob's dominance, in TT's efforts to play under control, in EJ's restraint and acceptance of his role -- while still playing with confidence, in Releford lurching reluctantly toward offensive explosiveness. With the latter three, particularly, you see unselfishness. Not saying TT and TRob are necessarily selfish, but do the other three seem to be worrying about their offensive output? That's coaching -- that's coaching a team concept. Winning over their minds.

The talk above about each of these guys playing in the NBA is not just baloney. All five can do it. And if Withey, EJ, and Releford can make positive strides heading into March ... and TT can embrace his new found control. This could be the best starting five in the country. Would you trade this starting five for any other starting five?

Depth? Screw depth. We have no other choice in assessing our depth.

But what we could get is KY going for 14 in the Elite 8 when his team desperately needs him; or Teahan drilling five three pointers against a dreaded mid-major in the Sweet 16; or Wesley droppiong 6 points and grabbing 8 boards with one foul in a magical 12 minute stretch with TRob on bench with 3 fouls.

We've seen magical runs. Magical runs are built on team character. We have a POY candidate. Another banner in the rafters. Perhaps all of that can put us in a position to challenge for the only important banner.

But still enjoying the ride .. just for this year.

Chris Shaw 2 years, 9 months ago

Man, I would just love to see Teahan having some fun out there! He looks stressed! I'll be honest, his shooting woes still concern me away from AFH.

I also hope that Bill Self doesn't wear out the dribble weave up top only to see Teahan flaring to the corner play. I hope he has another play up his sleeve come tourney time for ole' Downtown Conner Treyhan.

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