Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Humility crucial for KU


This is the time of year that all coaches, broadcasters and office bracket-pool participants say the same words ad nauseum: “It’s not about the seedings in the tournament. It’s all about the match-ups.”

In reality, that doesn’t really apply to relatively balanced basketball teams such as Kansas University’s. For example, was Missouri a good match-up or a bad match-up for KU?

Well, for a stretch starting with the final 2:04 of the Columbia game and ending with 10:50 left in the Lawrence game, it appeared to be an awful match-up. Missouri won that 31:14 stretch, 78-51. For the remaining 15:50, it looked like a terrific match-up for Kansas, which outscored the Tigers 36-19 during that memorable stretch.

Kansas is even better inside than on the perimeter, but point guard Tyshawn Taylor is one of the best in the nation, so it’s not as if the Jayhawks are particularly vulnerable to any one style. In the case of KU, the most significant match-up pits the players vs. their mirrors.

A confident and humble Kansas is capable of competing against any team in the country. A confident and vain Kansas is capable of stinking up the joint against any NCAA Tournament-caliber squad.

A confident and humble Kansas adheres to the scouting report. A confident and vain Kansas thinks it can win on sheer talent.

Asked to speak to what type of teams make for good and bad match-ups for KU, Taylor responded in a manner that all his teammates should embrace.

“I think any match-up can be a bad match-up for us if we aren’t rebounding the ball or we aren’t tuned in defensively,” Taylor said. “We know any team can beat us if we aren’t a good defensive team. A good match-up for us would be any team who plays us when we are playing well.”

Confident yet humble words.

“Like I said, I think if we prepare like we want to win and like we are an underdog, almost, I think it is going to be hard to beat us,” Taylor said.

For the Jayhawks, the seed just might mean more than the match-up. A No. 1 seed four of the past five years, Kansas enters as a No. 2 this time.

“I think the last couple of years, when we were a No. 1 seed, we felt like we had to win it,” Taylor said. “I feel the same way this year, but I don’t feel like it is on us as much. I don’t think anybody is going to call us failures or say that we let them down or we choked or whatever it might be.”

Winning an eighth consecutive Big 12 championship killed any chance of being labeled failures by a reasonable person.


katiekelley 2 years, 1 month ago

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mikehawk 2 years, 1 month ago

"Reasonable" KU basketball fans? Really? Where? Not on this blog. There are none in my family. There are some at my office here in Oklahoma that are sitting around waiting on OU spring football practice to start. Now they are "reasonable" KU basketball fans. I want to be reasonable. It is a goal of mine to be reasonable about our beloved Jayhawks. I try to be a reasonable in other areas of my life, also. But when it comes to my son, my wife, my country, my Jayhawks at tournament time, I am ANYTHING BUT REASONABLE!


Steve Brown 2 years, 1 month ago

You know what really hurts, getting beat in a one and down tournament by a lower ranked seed. when wearing the home white uniforms, being the favored seed, it is tough to lose.

Well, guess what, when you are Kansas, more often than not, most of your march madness games will be against lower ranked seeds.

We have a shot at six games, the odds are about 88%+ that one of those will be a tough loss. It's March is the meat grinder, we all bring high hopes, "it could happen" and massive fear, that the worse may happen.

Facing a hot 3pt. shot mid major is usually doom for all of us. Recall '08 Davidson by a whisker and we had an immenesly talented team. I like to pretend the B12 regular season championship is fullfilling and it is, no doubt, but hard to appreciate when the big dance follows so close. Hard to have a great 35-3 season to get upset in the dance, the bittersweet bounce of the ball.

We are Kansas it is supposed to hurt when we get bounced, could be worse, no final fours in our history and headed to the Dixie.league. Rock Chalk, be quick but don't hurry.


Jason Keller 2 years, 1 month ago

Well, they're saying the right things. I really hope that they believe that there are 10-15 teams in this tourney who can wax KU if we don't play a fabulous game because there are. I think if KU plays inspired and smart basketball, there are only 4-5 teams who can play with us.

Look for K-State to make the elite 8 and maybe even farther now that Syracuse is without the Big East player of the year. Talk about a rough year for Syracuse, holy cow.


Nathan Scholl 2 years, 1 month ago

Way to state the OBVIOUS Keegan. But you're right, it HAS TO BE SAID. This team for some reason still thinks they can just show up. Love this team, but yes, stay HUMBLE and play like the underdog! The Hawks play better with a chip on their shoulders. Rock Chalk!!!!!!!!


Aaron Rosenthal 2 years, 1 month ago

Regarding the notion that last year's team entered the tournament with humility. I recall a post-game interview in which one of VCU's starters detailed how Marcus Morris shook his hand before tipoff and said something like, "You've had a nice run, but now it's over."

Saying that to an opponent is beyond obnoxious. When your best player shows that level of disrespect for a quality opponent you're facing an uphill mental battle. Especially when VCU had won 4 games, including absolute routs of Georgetown and Purdue, to get there.

I believe this year's team understands its vulnerabilities and will play with tenacity. The 2012 Jayhawks are among my personal favorite KU teams based on spirit, in-season progress and effort. Wherever they end up I suspect they will honor those elements.


Scut Farkus 2 years, 1 month ago

"Humble and confident" is an oxymoron. The only thing Self is preaching is play hard, play smart. If I was T-Rob, I would walk up to Holman and whisper in his ear just before the tip off, "I'm going to kick your a$$". Or he could be humble and not even look him in the eyes.


Justin Carlson 2 years, 1 month ago

This just in fab melo out!!!

Look out for the Purple Kitties to make a run!!

Go Frankie!!


LittleRockJayhawker 2 years, 1 month ago

What is crucial to beating mid-majors (since 2001)? Humility or defending and shooting the trey?

KU v. Mid-major 3pt. %

2011: Lost by 10. #11 VCU..........KU 9.5% vs. VCU 48% 2010: Lost by 2. #9 N. Iowa.........KU 26.0% vs. N. Iowa 40% 2006: Lost by 4. #13 Bradley.......KU 38.9% vs. Bradley 52.4% 2005: Lost by 1. #14 Bucknell.....KU 9.1% vs. Bucknell 25.8%

Average 3pt %: KU: 20.9% Mid-major: 41.6% Detroit: 30.2% Purdue: 37.7% (Releford plays his heart out on D + we shoot at least 25% from three or we lose.)


oldalum 2 years, 1 month ago

I was listening to commentators right after the seedings were announced and they were going through all the brackets. Reece Davis kept asking who everyone thought was the one likely to upset Kansas in their bracket because Kansas is "known" for that.


oldalum 2 years, 1 month ago

Does that mean the two of you are not reasonable people? I think Tom was talking about people who recognize that there is more value to a complete season than a one-and-out tournament. I'm disappointed if they don't go far in the NCAA tournament, but it doesn't cancel out all the good stuff they did during the season.


Tony Bandle 2 years, 1 month ago

I love ths fact that a lot of publications and commentators are called the possibilty of a Detroit upset of Kansas a "fait accompli", in other words "a done deal".

Has any Bill Self team been looked at with less expectations than this one?

Eighth title, ranking as high as #3, 27 wins, Potential POY, named COY, potential Cousy Award winner, highest #2 seed.....none of it seems to make any difference to the "experts".

I love it. if any team in America becomes more dangerous than this year's Hawks if they are disrespected, I'd like to know about it.

This team and its coaches take it personal.....and, before it's over, I think Kansas is gonna do a lot of damage!!!!


Ludwig Supraphonic 2 years, 1 month ago

Saw some of the ESPN show with brief interviews of all 68 tournament coaches this AM. One segment featured ESPN pundits offering opinions of who's the best NC tournament game coach. The faves were Pitino and Consonants followed by Weepy Jim, Cheater Jim, He-who-leaves-his-school-on-probation/King Calamari of Forfeiture, and Roy. I can only surmise KU is expected to succeed and anything short of a final four is a coaching failure.


HawkKlaw 2 years, 1 month ago

"Winning an eighth consecutive Big 12 championship killed any chance of being labeled failures by a reasonable person."

Precisely! Hardly anyone (outside of extreme KU fans) expected KU to win it's 8th straight conference title before the season began. This season can already be considered a success in my book. I'd like to see KU get to 30 wins (aka make it to the Elite 8), but that would just be icing on the cake.

"...I don’t feel like it is on us as much. I don’t think anybody is going to call us failures or say that we let them down or we choked or whatever it might be.”

That's how I felt just before the Big 12 tourney started. I kinda like the fact that KU doesn't have all the expectations associated with a #1 seed. Plus, we get to play in Omaha and St. Louis.

And Tyshawn, don't worry about being called a failure one bit. You and your teammates have become an excellent squad. Sometimes us fans are too fanatical for our own good. Just beat Detroit!


manginorh00lz 2 years, 1 month ago

"Winning an eighth consecutive Big 12 championship killed any chance of being labeled failures by a reasonable person."

False. If KU loses to any seed 5 spots or more lower, they can still fail.


SCHNBALL 2 years, 1 month ago

If the items below are not an issue, we go to the Big Easy, If not, the game we lose with have at least 2 of 3 items below not go are way.

On another note, I am very anxious to see what changes Self has made for the tournament, as he stated he would after the end of last year. In particular, his demeanor on the sideline if we have a bad start or bad stretch. I like our chances.

  1. Can Conner or EJ contribute behind the arch nightly?
  2. How many defensive lapses with Tyshawn have during a bad stretch of game?
  3. JW, can we hide him on the defensive end with a quicker, smaller team.

Steve Gantz 2 years, 1 month ago

Since I came to KU in the marvelous '85-86 season, we have lost in the first round a grand total of twice, that's 22 times out of 24 tourneys advancing to the 2nd round. (I omitted the year we couldn't play in '89 all you truth sticklers) Of course the two times they didn't occurred in fairly recent memory, however, Self seems to have fixed that ignominious problem by making it to at least the 3rd round in each year since, except for UNI. Generally our problem hasn't been in overlooking 1st round opponents, or even 2nd round opponents. Not sure where this thought of mine is even going, but it's factual information that should set our minds at ease for this weekend.


jaybate 2 years, 1 month ago

Again, if its not about the seedings, its about the match-ups, why doesn't the seeding committee seed all of the teams, and then modify the seedings for the match-ups?

Give the 1 seed the seed from 60-65 that would be the easiest match-up.

And so on.

Let's get this fixed, NCAA.


William Blake 2 years, 1 month ago

Excellent assessment, Tom.

You nailed it on the nose.

The tourney loss and push down to a #2 seed also keeps a chip on these guys' shoulders... especially because the mentor teams before them were #1 seeds. An early exit from the tourney means this team will be labeled into eternity as the "rebuilding year" team. I don't think any of these guys want to leave a legacy like that behind. It may not be fair, but it is true.

My biggest concern is we win a game or two then the recent loss wears off and we become big-headed and complacent.

Tom... please keep writing about humility as the tournament progresses. And if you see them slipping into comfort, drop the hammer. These guys need more than CS and his staff to remind them to stay focused and humble throughout the tournament.

There is only one party to look forward to, and that party takes place on April 2!


JakeBarnes 2 years, 1 month ago

Given KU's record under Williams and Self you can hope for the best and fear the worst. They have normally been outstanding teams who trip up along the way or pretty good teams who either win it all or at least go to the final four. I agree with HouTexHawk, "I really don't know what to expect from this team. They have suprised and [several times] frustrated me all year." Probably fans from teams everywhere could say they feel this way. I've started taping the games so I don't have to watch when KU loses, or at least stop watching when they fall behind and I know they aren't going to catch up.

I hope I get to watch every play of the entire tournament this year.........................


jaybate 2 years, 1 month ago

Humility is as useless as hubris.

Respect all.

Fear none.


LarryCarl 2 years, 1 month ago

regarding seeding... it may be worth mentioning that KU played 4 games against other 2 seeds... one game against Duke, one game against Ohio State and two games against Missouri... and they were 2 and 2 in those games...

KU also played 4 games against 3 seeds... one game against Georgetown and three games against Baylor... and they were 3 and 1 in those games...

that would seem to make them solidly a 2 seed...

but indeed... it is also worth mentioning that 15 seeds have beaten 2 seeds 4 times in the past...


Robert Brown 2 years, 1 month ago

I'm always nervous at tourney time. There is great anticipation going into the tourney and usually heartache at the end. I'm sure thanks the case for fans of other elite basketball schools. Unless you get to the Final Four or win the NC, the tournament ends in disappointment. KU was a #1 seed, four of the last five years meaning that a Final Four was expected. We only got there once. Of course, a national championship can make up for a few disappointments.

I really don't know what to expect from this team. They have surprised and frustrated me all year.


IrishCharlie 2 years, 1 month ago

Will there be a ton of trash talking a chest thumping this year?


Ben Kane 2 years, 1 month ago

I'm way more nervous about this year's tourney than in years past. I have a feeling that most fans probably feel that way too which, in turn, leads me to believe the players are less arrogant this year, which can only be a good thing because I'm sure their drive to win is unwavering throughout the years.


ParisHawk 2 years, 1 month ago

"They don't care that you play in historic Allen Field House"

Taking as a whole the period Coach Self has been here, KU has been the best regular-season team in the country.

During the same period, KU has been one of the best post-season teams, but not the best.

Any disappointment or negative feelings from fans come from this disparity.

There is a reason, folks: KU has the best home-field advantage in the country.

We can't bask in the glory of our home-field advantage without recognizing that, on average, KU will be better with it than without it.

That being said, please beat Detroit!


actorman 2 years, 1 month ago

"In the case of KU, the most significant match-up pits the players vs. their mirrors."

One of the best lines that Keegan has ever written.

"They don't care that you play in historic Allen Field House or where Self offices."

????? "Where Self offices?" What the he** does that mean? Is that like talking about where he summers?


EverRisingHawk 2 years, 1 month ago

If we play to our strengths, we can beat any team in the country. No one here doubts that, but I see nothing wrong with a little mental m@sturbation before this thing gets started. I love your comments Tyshawn. Lock down defense and aggressiveness on the glass can stymie any opponent who happens to be white hot from the perimeter (which is known to fell the giants in March - Northern Iowa is a case in point). We take the court with a special hybrid of humility and confidence, we can go all the way. I like the phrase 'relaxed instensity.' Picture Maurice Greene's jaw when he runs the 100 meters. His cheeks flap all over the track, but his eyes say murder. Do it Hawks.


Robert Rauktis 2 years, 1 month ago

Way over seeded in the 2's so they have no margin for complacency. With the right attitude they can do well; without, it's an "upset" with a 15 sending you home. They don't care that you play in historic Allen Field House or where Self offices.


Hank Cross 2 years, 1 month ago

This team has definitely got the memo that no team is going to roll over, just b/c it says Kansas on the front of their uniform. What's more important though, is that they what it's like to be laughed at (UK game), to be in a dogfight with a top team (Duke game) to get punked by a mid-major (Davidson) and to know that anything can happen down the strech and no lead is safe (both MU games). This team is as tourney tough as any KU team I can remember.


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