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Monday, March 5, 2012

Keegan

Kansas’ season amazing

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Statisticians armed with state-of-the-art calculators still were busy finding a definitive answer to Saturday night’s burning question when Bill Self shut the door on an amazing regular season.

Before getting to Self’s words, the burning question: During his Kansas basketball career, has Jordan Juenemann logged more minutes on the court playing in games or speaking after Saturday’s Senior Night game? The answer is a) playing. He has played 99 minutes, and the speech didn’t last quite that long. Honest.

Now, back to how Self closed the door on a regular season that ended with Kansas sporting a 26-5 overall record and 16-2 Big 12 mark.

“It’s been a great run, but we’ve had enough pats on the back about winning the league,” Self said. “That’s over.”

Considering Kansas lost just two games during the expanded Big 12 schedule despite having just one returning starter (Tyshawn Taylor), more back-patting was in order. Some of that arrived in the way of Big 12 honors revealed Sunday. Thomas Robinson was voted Player of the Year by the league’s coaches, Tyshawn Taylor first-team and Self co-coach of the year with Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg.

Regionally, the three men most responsible for KU’s astonishing season have earned just recognition.

Nationally, only Robinson has earned enough praise. Self, a prisoner of his own success, seldom is mentioned in conversations about national coach of the year, and Taylor, despite outplaying a handful of the nation’s top point guards, doesn’t inspire first-team All-American talk.

Baker University coach Brett Ballard, whose Wildcats play tonight against MidAmerica Nazarene in the Heart of America Athletic Conference tournament title game in the Cook Center in Olathe, doesn’t take either man’s contributions for granted.

Did he expect the Jayhawks to win the Big 12?

“I didn’t,” said Ballard, former KU point guard and assistant coach. “I didn’t. I watched them practice in October, and I know coach is a great coach, and I knew they’d get better, but I didn’t think there was any way they’d win the league. I didn’t see it.”

What made the Jayhawks overachieve?

“Jeff (Withey) has gotten better,” Ballard said. “Thomas (Robinson) has played great, but the guy who’s just blown me away and still isn’t getting enough credit is Tyshawn. I mean, it’s just unbelievable the level he’s playing at.”

Ballard said he thinks Self’s winning eight consecutive conference titles deserves more national attention.

“What an incredible feat that is,” Ballard said. “And I hope KU fans don’t take it for granted because I feel sorry for whoever the next coach at KU is going to be. I mean, there’s no way you can live up to those expectations. It’s incredible what he’s doing. Incredible.”

Comments

AZHawk72 2 years, 1 month ago

As far as seedings go, at this point it looks like the 1s are Kentucky, Syracuse, North Carolina, and us--with the 2s being Missouri, Duke, Ohio-State and Marquette or Michigan State. The oddity is that all of the above, except Kentucky, could play another of the above before the weekend concludes. Never before has there been a better opportunity to judge the impact of the conference tourneys on seedings. It will also be interesting to see what lengths the committee will go to separate the big dogs in the 12, the 10, and the East.

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Lance Hobson 2 years, 1 month ago

This team is special but whether our record shows we deserve it or not, I think we all know this isn't a #1 seed team. It's very unlikely this group will make it to the Final 4, and a #1 seed will be the nail in the coffin. I am really hoping for a 2 seed, the pressure of a #1 will be too much for this team to handle. I don't want KU to be known as the perennial #1 seed you can count on not making it to the Final 4, and if we get one this year that's the label you can bank on.

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Jim Pendleton 2 years, 1 month ago

Oakville, I thought a KU-MU hook-up in the St Louis Regional was possible too, until I heard a few weeks ago that there is an NCAA rule regarding teams from the same conference being in the same regional, if they are both a one and a two seed. Don't confuse this with the old rule that teams from the same conference can't meet up until a regional final. I heard this on one of the tournament discussion shows, so pretty sure this info is accurate.

The only way KU and MU could play in the same regional would be if one of the two teams is a three seed or worse. I don't really see that happening unless one or both lose their first game this week in KC.

SLU and/or Wichita State could be interesting as well. I could see one or both of these teams being placed in this regional also. That could make for a wild weekend in St Louis if two or more of these teams make it that far. Wouldn't rule out seeing Mich St or Ohio St there either.

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 1 month ago

It's about the $$$$$$$. Don't be surprised if Kansas, Missouri and St.Louis Univ. all end up in the Midwest Regional.

Since SLU played no games in the Dome, they will be allowed to come to the Midwest. Just those three teams could almost fill the place...if they get there.

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Scott Smetana 2 years, 1 month ago

Mizzou = Dook.
Live and die by the 3.

UNC = UK Loads of talent, hands down favorites

Syracuse = Ohio St Underwhelming

Kansas = Michigan St. Overachieving, great coaches, All-American leader

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Billy Derringer 2 years, 1 month ago

Theres always a suprise or two come selection day.The committee does there home work an dosent get caught up with talk. ku has played a juggernut of a secdule they will be rewarded i got there resume at 3rd overall.They grew from Davidson it was a needed lose, seems as self has a game every year will he let his players do it thier way an they get bit.Grate teaching tool because really season loses arent that big of a deal only when they mount it becomes a issue.Thank you Drew Jennings for going an getting this coach best move in the last 20 years per as cbb coaching hires great vision great get.

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Ludwig Supraphonic 2 years, 1 month ago

I was listening to ESPN radio late last night with the topic being three teams (UK, Syracuse, UNC) being locks for #1 seeds. Since MSU lost yesterday, they were no longer seen as a lock, and the #1 bid could come down to the B10 tourney, Dook, or maybe Mizzery/KU. Love the B12 respect. UNC touted as, finally playing up to their pre-season potential. I wonder where KU would be seeded if we had a 33 point road loss in conference. I guess proving in on the court against a full conference slate is undervalued.

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REHawk 2 years, 1 month ago

I've nothing against Frank Haith and his group of players. They are winners, kids who have steadily improved and become formidable opponents on the conference and national stage. The Tigers performed well a season ago, and advanced significantly in the NCAA Tournament. Even with the loss of Bowers, newcomer Haith not only held his team together but built unity and forward progress with the players Mike Anderson recruited and left behind. That is a very praiseworthy coaching job for a newcomer from a distant league. However, Fred Hoiberg, in his second season at the helm, brought the Cyclones from anonymity as a 3-win league team to a position of 3rd place in the conference, knocking off #1 Big 12 Champion Kansas enroute. And all of us know what Bill Self has done. At the very best, Frank Haith deserves no better than a possible tie for 3-way league co-coach of the year. Given that Missouri politicians, pigskin dreamers and discontents, and governor-picked Board of Curators chose to jump ship and rattle what was left of the solidity of our league, folks who are responsible for the voting aren't going to gift the fledgling Tiger mentor with any special blessings. It's a bye-bye and good riddance situation for Missouri athletics. Too bad their basketball players got caught up in the enmity; but voters did not fail to recognize the strength of their players. Self and Hoiberg have mined rocks and polislhed them into dazzling gemstones. Their recruits, their upward progress, their coaching; no silver platters handed to them by a former mentor.

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BillSelf4Prez 2 years, 1 month ago

Looks like Michigan State is out of the running for a no. 1 seed. So that leaves us and North Carolina now. If we win our tournament and they win theirs we should still be ahead of them. But knowing how much ESPN and everyone loves the tarheels they will select them over us for the St. Louis region and will ship us out West. And watch Misery get the no. 2 seed in St. Louis. Oh ya, and why is ESPN so obsessed with The Unibrow? T-Rob averages 5 more ppg and 5 more rpg.

Ha and how about WIllie Cauley? LOSING to my 12-8 Olathe East Hawks in the 6a state tournament after going undefeated in the regular season. Haha. And Clay Cluster at Blue Valley NorthWest is probably one of the best up and coming players in the state. Still isn't on KU's radar, but i know he is on KSU's and he has them listed so HCBS needs to go watch this kid play! Lastly, i don't expect OE to advance past Perry Ellis and Wichita Heights. Ha

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bbeckum 2 years, 1 month ago

Also, I am really impressed with the way KU finished the season. After clinching a share of the title, they could've put it on cruise control. Instead, they beat a scrappy OSU team on the road, and a dangerous UT team with nothing on the line (other than pride/seeding:) Even though neither game was pretty, the Hawks took care of business. I think that bodes well for tourney play, especially in early games against teams they "should" beat.

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bbeckum 2 years, 1 month ago

So which POY awards are most prestigious? I know the Wooden Award is considered important. Do the coaches pick a nat'l POY?

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jaybate 2 years, 1 month ago

Tom,

Maybe this story was a set-up for some stats by Jesse?

I think the right stats will show how he did it.

Screw COY.

Self should win magician of the year, or bailing wire artist of the year!!!!

Bottom line though: his team did it.

They became the defenders he said they could be.

TT became leader and a trey shooter, which made him unstoppable off the bounce.

Thomas played through the triple teams, learned to shoot and pass and shoot FT.

Jeff became a swatting savant and a crack FT shooter, while being just good enough otherwise to stay on the floor.

Travis became a great defender and protector.

EJ defended exceptionally and protected well and got biled out by TT's trey.

Conner played just well enough in key games and very well in a few.

KY grew into a 15 mpg guy.

Justin guarded the post for short stretches.

Everyone played through injuries that would have stopped lesser players.

Self reached maturity as coach able to see his players strengths and pick and choose which failings to fix, rather than trying to fix everything.

It all came together for awhile for this team with two of the best players in USA, and a starting 5 that should have been voted all league.

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Ron Franklin 2 years, 1 month ago

Sorry, but no. First of all Frank works for the enemy that turned their back on the rest of the conference, so he never deserved a any accolades from the league he is abandoning.

Secondly, you think Frank coaches a winning system? Look at his life-time coaching percentage to know that's not the case. The guy made it to the NCAA tournament 1 time while at Miami.

Third, he had a team that returned over 90% of it's scoring, and all of the starters from last year. Mike Anderson had recruited some studs, and then misused them for three years. Did you know Mike Anderson didn't run an offense? Frank Haith stepped in, implemented a few plays, and the kids took off. All they needed was just a little bit of structure and they were primed to excel. I would barely credit Haith with any of this.

Finally, the guy is under a probe for dealing with a schmuck and paying players.

Still think he got robbed?

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iamakufan 2 years, 1 month ago

Juenemann deserves a pat on the back for his contribution to this team, especially his contributions behind the scenes. His play in practice, his tenaciousness, helped to mold the team we see on the court. Juenemann and the others like him are an important part of this team. They make the same effort as the starters but get very little public praise. I stand with hat off to Jordan Juenemann and the rest of the walkons. Thanks to you guys for all you do.

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Kyle Rohde 2 years, 1 month ago

As proud as I am of Self and how great KU played this year, Frank Haith got robbed for Coach of the Year. To get that team, with only 7 scholarship players, to buy into his system and have Mizzou's best team likely in the past 20 years is remarkable. While Self's coaching was incredible, the fact that he had such a lackluster team to start with was his own fault for failures on the recruiting trail. Haith is in his first year and had to win with Anderson's players. That, to me, is more impressive so I would have given the nod to Haith and Hoiberg together.

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Andy Tweedy 2 years, 1 month ago

Self can't coach or recruit...I know this because I read it on this board all the time! Sarcasm aside, great job coach! And great job players! Always easy to be a Jayhawk during basketball season!!!

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rcr 2 years, 1 month ago

Not mentioned in this article was the fact that JeffvWithy was named Big 12 Defensive player of the Year. I guess TK didn't think that was important enou to deserve a mention. Congratulations to all.

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UmbertoConforti 2 years, 1 month ago

Ballard is right. Self may be as hard to replace as John Wooten was/is at UCLA. How long has it been since Wooten was coach there?

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SDSurferFan 2 years, 1 month ago

Self deserves to be up for COY.

However.

What is lost from the previous year is highly irrelevant IMO. It is what he has. He still had a pretty good thing coming back.

Highly recruited 7ft with upside.
Very good bench player that is now an all-American. 4 yr starter at point guard. Strong role player. Good 2 guard. Jr, Jr, Sr, Sr, Jr. This is KU we are talking about. There is never a rebuilding year.

Self molded, shaped, coached, motivated, etc. He deserves a ton of credit. Just doesn't matter who he lost, it's what he still had. A very good team, that could be great!

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leonard 2 years, 1 month ago

We lose Morris, Morris, Morningstar, Reed, Little, and Selby from last year's conference champions and No. 1 seed...and replace them with Young, Wesley, and Teahan.

Bill Self as COY? Hardly...he should be named Coach of the Universe!

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madamhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Wow...8 straight conf titles...in the Big XII, after losing 3 seniors and 3 to the NBA last year...after losing 3 incomers to academics...playing 2 former walkons...Wow!

I'm just taking this quiet moment and trying to metabolize what we have witnessed.

Just. Ridiculously. Amazing.

I couldn't be happier even if you tied me up, tied me down, slapped me on my a$$ and called me Susan. Well... Big XII tourney and naty trophies would be acceptable ;)

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kusportsdotcom 2 years, 1 month ago

Is it just me, or does it seem like this article ends kind of abruptly? I feel like it should have, and could have, been twice as long.

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kusportsdotcom 2 years, 1 month ago

Kind of a cheap shot to Juenemann there. For whom exactly was that a "burning question"?

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Benjamin Piehler 2 years, 1 month ago

All I know is we'd never be where we are tonight if TT was playing like he was at the beginning of the year. It's a group effort, of course, and he wasn't the only one who improved... But still. Many of the talking heads at ESPN picked us to finish third or fourth in the Big XII this year. Kudos to Bill Self for taking another "undermanned" team and getting the most out of the them. We'll be tellinig stories of the vanquishing of Mizzou in Allen for years after. It's a great time to take a breather and look back at all the skeptics this team has silenced.

You come at the king, and you'd best not miss.

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