Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Mizzou gets assist for KU’s victory


Bill Self has taken two Tulsa teams, all three Illinois squads and each of his nine Kansas University clubs to the NCAA Tournament.

He has compiled a 29-12 record in tourney games — including a 20-7 mark at Kansas — has been to the Elite Eight six times and won a national championship in 2008.

Yet, until Sunday night in the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb., the 19th-year Division I college basketball coach had never coached a team that won an NCAA Tournament game it trailed at halftime.

Kansas didn’t lead in its 63-60 victory against Purdue until Elijah Johnson hit a three-pointer with 3:04 left. The Jayhawks trailed at the half, 36-30, a deficit that grew to 10 points before the comeback started.

The victory made Self 1-9 in NCAA Tournament games in which his team was behind at the half, 28-3 when leading.

Most of his teams aren’t accustomed to falling behind, so when it happens, the pressure of playing catch-up ball without a great deal of experience at it mounts, and the final buzzer sounds too early.

Not playing well from behind, to a large extent, can be a consequence of being too good, scoring too many blowouts, experiencing little more than relief after victories, dejection after losses.

This team is different from most of Self’s in that it doesn’t routinely overwhelm opponents with talent and has to rely more on will than skill to win consistently.

These Jayhawks have gone 5-3 in games they trailed at halftime. Kansas can thank Missouri for helping it to win Sunday’s warts-and-all classic. The Tigers led by a dozen after 20 minutes in Allen Fieldhouse, and the deficit swelled to 19 before KU’s famous comeback victory in overtime.

“Huge,” senior guard Tyshawn Taylor said of that comeback helping KU in the Purdue game.

Taylor was able to tell teammates with credibility at halftime that they all had been there before, a luxury upon which teams too loaded can’t rely.

The Missouri thriller was by far the most impressive, but KU also overcame regular-season halftime deficits in Allen Fieldhouse against Iowa State and Texas A&M; and in Norman against Oklahoma.

In the Missouri comeback, it was Taylor who stayed so calm at such a high speed.

In the Purdue game, Johnson steered the ship to safety.

They don’t fear stormy conditions, they attack them with confidence.


dw3c 9 years, 8 months ago

I really thought this was going to be an article about KU fans buying up unwanted tickets from mizzou fans after they lost to Norfolk St.

FlashyThundercat 9 years, 8 months ago

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

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 8 months ago

I believe the article was building up to the Missouri game... Seemed straight forward and well written to me.

Maybe reading isn't your thing.

JayHawkFanToo 9 years, 8 months ago

You are welcome Tom Keegan...

Keegan must have read my posts. I posted a few time in the past weeks that the MU (and Baylor) game would end up helping KU in the long run; I guess he agrees.

Alohahawk 9 years, 8 months ago

+1 So did I. And I don't think either of us are rocket scientists

Let's see. Shall we both agree that KU will win against N. C. State? Hear that, everyone? You read it here first. :>)

Gary Wirsig 9 years, 8 months ago

Time to trot out my avatar. Although I was a rocket scientist during my Air Force career, it unfortunately doesn't carry over to KU basketball!

JayHawkFanToo 9 years, 8 months ago

Actually, I did work on the Space Shuttle Program, but I would not consider myself a rockets scientist, just an plain ol' engineer. KU matches up well with NC State, and if it play up to its season averages, I see a 8-12 point win.

Alohahawk 9 years, 8 months ago

Chuckle! I should have known I'd find a way to overstep my abilities on guessing careers. Anyone who has worked in the space industry, short of pushing a broom, gets my nod as a rocket scientist, whether you helped design a hatch cover, the padding inside the capsules, or a bolt that doesn't vibrate loose during a mission.

fansincewilt 9 years, 8 months ago

This team has given us a wonderful season; one that I don't believe will end anytime soon. They are giving their all. Who would have ever thought that we would have a POY candidate, several players of the week, a big 12 championship and a trip to the sweet sixteen with the expectations of winning to the elite 8 and maybe even to the final four. This team has exceeded everyone's expectations. That is so much better than ending on a sour note. There is really something special about this team. I can't wait to see who is going to step up in this next game, but I feel really sure that someone will. I wonder if it is Withey's turn or if Johnson will again carry the day. What an exciting bunch of guys!

Ben Kane 9 years, 8 months ago

"They don’t fear stormy conditions, they attack them with confidence."

explain to me how you attack stormy conditions... do you use a knife?

sleepy33 9 years, 8 months ago

Galoshes, I expect. Also, umbrellas. There's some kind of metaphor for strong defense in there somewhere.

Doug Merrill 9 years, 8 months ago

Great column -= good info re Self's record - did not realize that, even at Tulsa and Illinois, his teams had not come from behind much. EJ made the point after the game that no one on the team "got down", so the experience did pay off. I wouldn't mind a couple of blow out wins this weekend, tho!

bbeckum 9 years, 8 months ago

Here's a hilarious bit from ESPN:

Missouri may never live down its 86-84 loss to No. 15 seed Norfolk State. As bad as the upset was for the 2-seed Tigers, it looked even worse two days later, when the Spartans were blown out by Florida by 34 points. For Missouri, the defeat can be added to an ever-growing list of gut-wrenching moments in Tigers athletics history that includes Tyus Edney's coast-to-coast, buzzer-beating layup, the Ricky Clemons fiasco and the fifth-down football game against Colorado.

And here's the link:

jhox 9 years, 8 months ago

Bebeckum, don't you know that MU was deserving of that number 1 seed they didn't get, and that's why they lost, because they had to play a tougher opponent than they should have? After all, they played such a tough non conference schedule and won their league championship (or so their T-shirts declare.)

It just cracked me up listening to their whining over that, and then to see them lose. The committee has always given more respect to teams who play a tough non conference schedule, and to teams who win their league (not the league tournament), yet that was obviously lost on all of the Missery homers.

Jean Robart 9 years, 8 months ago

you mean they could have lost to a sixteenth seeded team instead?

newmedia 9 years, 8 months ago

Shoot. I'd even throw in the Mizzou Orange Bowl that wasn't! Thanks again Lew.

Ben Kane 9 years, 8 months ago

one of Lew's greatest achievements in my book.

KUFan90 9 years, 8 months ago

I guess I had forgotten we were winning at halftime of the Natl Champ game vs Memphis. Anyone know the halftime score of that game?

REHawk 9 years, 8 months ago

Current Jayhawk fans are beneficiaries of one of the tremendous psychological endowments of the sport of basketball. Skill and Will appear to be running neck to neck in the underlying makeup of this squad. If we should arrive at the National Championship game, some wise and wary opposing coach is bound to go into sleep deprivation after semifinal contests.

AsadZ 9 years, 8 months ago

I watched first half of Purdue game again and I can see why HCBS kept telling his players that we can win this game.

In my opinion KU was down for two reasons: 1. Purdue could not miss 2. KU could not score

Overall, KU actuall pleyed pretty well. Their D was good. They were posied and most importantly for HCBS, they were out rebounding Purdue. HCBS felt that sonner or later shooting would balance off and KU can win the game.

Jim Dickerson 9 years, 8 months ago

Glad someone watched the same game that I did. In addition, I thought T-Rob played a helluva game considering he had three defenders hanging on him every time he tried to put up a shot. 13 rebounds was awsome when having three bruisers banging on you the entire game. The entire team played great in my estimation. Alot of TT's game was taken away by Purdue clogging the paint, so let's not be so critical of his effort.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 8 months ago

Is it my imagination or did we have a lot of back tap type rebounds where TRob knew catching our missed shot would be tough because of being hounded by three guys so he just batted the ball back where EJ or TT picked up and restarted?


Redlandsjhawk 9 years, 8 months ago

I have to agree. With a few days to reflect, I believe I'm more impressed with KUs' first half play in Sundays game. How do you withstand crazy lights out can't miss shooting and go to halftime only down by six? especially when your shots are not falling? By rebounding, defending and getting to the line, and Most Importantly by Not Panicking!

I believe HCBS did his most impressive coaching in the first half. (okay that may be some hyperbole but you get my point)

JayHawkFanToo 9 years, 8 months ago

According to a reporter for one of the KC TV stations, during a timeout TRob told the other players...the whole team is covering me, shoot the ball already...or words to that effect and with a few choice four letter words sprinkled in between.

FairwayKS 9 years, 8 months ago

A Sad post, to be sure. You might wanna' lay off the Jack Daniel's before submitting your posts. When you're sober, SOONER or later, you can PLAY this posting-your-thoughts thing well and be POISED doing it.

Jim Dickerson 9 years, 8 months ago

If I hit the delete button, will you go away?

Adam Evans 9 years, 8 months ago

What did you delete? Your bracket that had mizzou winning it all? Can't say I blame you on that one.

KGphoto 9 years, 8 months ago

LJW, can we please stop with the auto-play video ads? So annoying!

Benjamin Piehler 9 years, 8 months ago

Google Chrome w/ add-blocker should do it.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

(Copy/Paste)^Graham Number

These auto-play video ads blow and need to be sent to the memory hole of the early internet sports web site museum.

I've heard that more than a dozen deaths have resulted from these things on this site alone so far!

(Note: okay, okay, there haven't been any deaths. It was just a joke to get your attention.) :-)

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

P.S.: Remember--dead men don't click. :-)

Robert Brock 9 years, 8 months ago

Mizzou gets an assist for KU's victory by Mizzou providing uplifting, high comedy earlier in the day. I must find me a Norfolk State tee-shirt.

9 years, 8 months ago

Here you go:

What makes the t-shirt even more cogent and delightful is what bbeckum posted above from the ESPN story link:

“Missouri may never live down its 86-84 loss to No. 15 seed Norfolk State. As bad as the upset was for the 2-seed Tigers, it looked even worse two days later, when the Spartans were blown out by Florida by 34 points.”

jayhawklawrence 9 years, 8 months ago

I think it is a given that you cannot become truly great unless you can overcome a great competitor.

Chamberlain and Russell, Lakers and Celtics, Magic and Bird, Chicago and Detroit.

Maybe if Missouri would have played more like those Isaiah Thomas led Detroit teams they would still be in it.

Missouri spent much energy hating Lawrence and tried to play finesse basketball instead of playing like men.

I hope we don't make the same mistake. This is a man's game. Everybody else go home early.

Even Kentucky will do down if they rely on 3 point shots.

ParisHawk 9 years, 8 months ago

"Missouri's only focus this year was to beat us... it has always been their only mission."

Just like our only mission in Football was to beat them :)

Michael Wattai 9 years, 8 months ago

So using the same logic on Misery, the close games that Misery had with KU should have helped Misery in the tourney. So why did Misery lose in the 1st round?

Alohahawk 9 years, 8 months ago

Simple. We are Kansas. They are Mizzery. That's all that really needs saying, but to add a few:

KU played a much tougher preconference schedule. MU didn't.

KU learned and developed as the season progressed. MU didn't.

KU wasn't overconfident. MU was.

KU regularly produces in the NCAA's. MU regularly looses in the NCAA's.

KU had height. MU didn't.

KU had __ (fill in any Jayhawk name). MU had __(Fill in any Tiger name.)

KU had Coach Self. MU had Haith. (Repeat that numerous times, over and over again. In fact, repeat it like you're counting sheep to go to sleep.)

To repeat item one from above: We are Kansas. They are Mizzery. Nuff said.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 8 months ago

Although I would have liked to take out Messouri in the Conf tourney, the deeper we go into this tourney, the better it gets for a KU fan.

Scott Smetana 9 years, 8 months ago

Great Story. I learned 2 things.

  1. Booth outbit a Dookie. I heard it was somebody from the Smithsonian, which didn't make sense.

  2. Duke VItale tried to convince Self not to come to Kansas.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

"Stopping the Conventional Wisdom, or Recognizing How Good the Lawrence Airmen Really Are"

I aim to put an end to the conventional wisdom that this team has to substitute will for skill to win. It has great will. But it also is saturated with skill.

This team has 5 great starters and 2 guys on the bench, Conner and KY, who bring serious skills.

Consider first the starting five. The starting five is now, in March, arguably better than last year's team, at the same time, because by March Josh Selby, though he was used as a decoy starter, really couldn't play as well as Travis for a game (despite his OAD status). Thomas is flat better than Marcus. Jeff is not as good as Kieff in several facets of the game, but Jeff can bring comparable post defense plus blocking that Kieff could not hope to bring, and defense is the coin of the realm in Self Ball. So: the gap between Keiff and Jeff is not as great as it seems, and for defense driven Self Ball, Jeff may actually be the more desirable player (and I liked Kieff and still like Kieff a huge amount). Go to the two and compare EJ and Tyrel. And get your Lens Crafters eye test prescriptions checked before you do. Its pretty close between them. EJ is faster, a bit bouncier, and much more elusive. Tyrel was much brawnier, shot a bit better even with a foot requiring surgery, maybe protected better, seemed to strip more, and was a year farther advanced. But at crunch time, EJ's got the ability to take a game over in a way that Tyrel never showed. So, I've got to give the edge in March to EJ, though its close. Go to the point. This year's Tyshawn is about twice as good as last year's Tyshawn. So: there you have it. The first five this year is better than the first five last year, as of March.

What this team lacks relative to most of Self's teams, especially to last year's team, is bench depth. But bench depth is increasingly not a decisive advantage in March. The commercial breaks are so long and so frequent that, while you need to rest your starters 10 minutes in the first of the two games in each the three two-game tournaments, the fact is, the competition is so good in the tournament that you often have to play your starters 35-40 minutes per game to get the Ws, starting Sweet 16 week end. You really only need 2-3 guys off the bench, one big, one small, to see to it that the starters only have to play 30 minutes in the first game. And in the second game you don't really need more than two to get the job done, unless you have major, major fouling problems.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

So: let's compare this year's team's first three reserves with last year's team's first three reserves.

Thomas vs. Kevin:

The edge has to go to Thomas on individual talent and awesome rebounding prowess, but...Thomas basically could not play down the stretch of any game when fouling was expected, because he couldn't shoot free throws. And Thomas last season was foul prone, and inconsistent. Kevin is an able free throw shooter and so can be in the game to the end--something you really need out of a big man substitute. Kevin is too light to bang. But Kevin has shown a knack for getting into games and bringing serious energy, as Thomas did, plus depending on the night, some offense. Thomas is better, but by March, Thomas is not vastly better.

Brady vs. Conner: Brady holds an edge on defense and trey shooting, but Conner has proven to be able to play 21 mpg, and 31-37 in important games, and though he looks ragged to the casual observe on defense, and is streaky on the trey, he keeps playing well enough for the team to get the W, some times just not doing doing anything wrong, but other times getting hot from trey and in big games and tipping the balance. They protect about the same. Also, something most are overlooking about Conner is that he is doing all of this at 6'5" and 215; this means that Conner is more solid than he looks at first and having been a football player, he brings some ruggedness and banging ability that Brady lacked. So: give Brady an edge, but remember that in March Madness, the ability to bang, and be 6'5" at the end of a game, and protect is almost as important as Brady's advantages, when you are not going to play through either in any case on the offense.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

Mario vs. Justin: Mario was usually asks to play out of position at the 4. Mario was only 6'5". He was a fine, fine athlete, and a talented basketball player, who would have been a much bigger influence had he not been injured. Mario seemed much the better basketball player in comparison with Justin. But...if you need to sub for Thomas or Jeff, who would you rather have guarding the post? Little at 6-5, or Justin at 6-9? I know Mario was the better, tougher basketball player at their respective phases of development. I know Justin is foul prone and brings no offense. But when you need the fourth big man in the paint during the middle of each half occasionally, who would you rather have? I would rather have Justin guarding the post, even though I think Mario was much the better basketball player. So: I've got to call this in Justin's favor, even though I would much rather have Mario Little scoring at the 3, and his toughness, and his spark off the bench, and so on. Bottom line, how both were used most of the time, was a infrequent subs at the 4. And on that basis, I would rather have Justin.

Conclusion: This year's team arguably has the better starting five. This year's bench has for the first three positions, which are all you need for a Madness run, and you often only need two, are not nearly as good of basketball players and athletes as last year's bench, but at the narrow roles that both were actually assigned to carry out, and given the level of banging required in Madness, I would say it is very, very, very close between which team is better: this year's, or last?

If you try to give lots of weight to last year's team having had more draft choices, you are counting Selby, and his limited utility distorted the importance of the draft choices. And it is almost certain that Thomas, Tyshawn and Jeff could go to the pros this year, even though it appears Jeff will come back another year to get some weight and strength. And if EJ has finally broken through to the great player he has always seemed destined to become, he could easily get hot down the stretch of the Madness and be judged draft worthy by the L, too. That would be four DCs to last year's 3.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

And if you try to give lots of weight to depth, then you are stuck with the fact that depth isn't all that important in the Madness. The best seven guys in the best XTReme Condition capable of playing the best defense, while also being able to play both XTReme Bang Ball and XTreme Transition actually constitute the best team to have.

Last year's team was pretty good at XTreme Muscle. They could really get down and slug it out in grind it out games.

But last year's team had an Achilles Heel that stemmed from their depth: they were not in XTReme Condition.

This year's team proved against Purdue that, while their inexperience made them vulnerable to bang ball, they can survive bang ball, even if it gets the better of them, and I believe they will now be an infinitely better bang ball team, when they face another bang ball team shortly, because of that brutal experience.

And this year team is XTReme Conditioned.

And they know how to play and hang close, while conserving energy, something last year's team never had to learn.

Does this team need a chip on its shoulder to play its best?

You're damned right it does.

But then if last year's team could have used a chip on its shoulder, when it met VCU.

Chips on shoulders of tournament basketball teams ought to be considered required gear.

And so here is where I see this all wash out. This year's team and last year's team are very different kinds of teams, but as of March, they are very close, and this year's team may be a better kind of team to try to win with in March than last year's team. They have the best 5 of anyone in the tournament except maybe UK, which has more talent. Their next two give them exactly what the first five needs in the way of support, though their scoring is streaky. But then good defensive teams that never go stone cold are what win March Madness, aren't they? This year's team can be that kind of a team. It got its stone cold games out just before the tourney started. The only looming shadow is Tyshawn maybe entering a trey slump, because he's never had one yet this year. But EJ after the Father of all trey slumps surpassing even Brady's mother of all trey slumps, appears to be catching fire. And Conner has now had his usual streak of clanking (though he might have 1-2 more), before catching fire in the Final Four. I see this team going deep, maybe winning it all. If it goes deeper than last year's team, its as good as last years team flat out, maybe a little better. If it goes all the way, then no question.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

trite = serial alias.

A day without a serial alias is like a day without post herpetic neuralgia.

We're all ready for one.

When is the serial alias fad going to self-limit?

trite, here are a couple ideas for more serial aliases.

trite100 trite200 trite300 trite400 trite...n


jhyphene 9 years, 8 months ago

Good take. Agree with most of your points. I think a bit part of this team is how the parts - which you broke down in comparison to last year's team - are so complimentary of one another. But I feel like the parts - while complimentary - are all required and have very little back up. So, if everyone brings it, KU is good. But if anyone fails to bring it, then KU gets "average quick," to quote HCBS. This is the "little-to-no margin for error" element that this team must deal with that, perhaps to a lesser degree, last year's team every dealt with.

Looking at Friday, KU needs to bring it - and I mean better than they have in their last 4-5 games. Everyone on the team needs to bring A games to their role. I, too, believe this team will go deep if that happens. If it doesn't, well...there's little-to-no margin for error...

Good take on this.

bayareajhawk 9 years, 8 months ago

I like where you are going with this, and you are dead on about not needing to be as deep during the tournament as during the season. This season has taught me, a spoiled kid who has only personally witnessed the "fully loaded" Roy Williams and Bill Self era Jayhawks, that as long as you avoid catastrophic injury you might be best served with a team that goes 7 or 8 deep. On those teams guys know exactly what their roles are (remember Tyshawn's infamous comment?) and don't wait for each other to do something when the going gets tough. As much as we like it when we can look down a long bench and see studs in every seat, that might not be the best way to go about building a team. We like to talk about this being our "worst team in 10 years" but that seems not to be the case. This is clearly our least talented team in 10 years, but as you say they might just surpass the achievements of more talented teams. That would make them better.

One thing I will take some issue with, though, is your comparison of Brady and Connor. I am a big fan of Connor and what he brings to the table (heart, toughness, size, and a streaky trey), but Brady Morningstar was an excellent on-ball perimeter defender and Connor Teahan is a below-average on-ball perimeter defender. For me, that totally negates Connor's three-inch size advantage and gives Brady, who also shares most of Connor's other attributes, more than a slight edge in the comparison.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

I agree with out about Brady and I am sorry if I failed to make my self clear on that. Brady is a better basketball player; that's why he always beat Conner out. bang ball if Madness, a few inches and some weight at the three do work in Conner's favor to bring them closer together than a comparison of them in regular season would rank them.

corvuscorax 9 years, 8 months ago

good post, 'Bate; also like Hammerhawk's "true grit" (below). My 3 cents: I thank my lucky stars to be cheering for this staff and these young men. Got some house money. Let's ride.

hammerhawk 9 years, 8 months ago

MU didn't win last week simply because they lacked experience playing in the tournament with the pressure on. They didn't have the experience to recognize how difficult it is to win games at this time of the year. They didn't win because overall they are, always have been, and always will be, a team without a positive destiny. They are losers.

Kansas, however, showed true grit in their win. KU showed the ability, gained through tournament game after tournament game, to persevere when the pressure is on and the game is against them. Years ago in a bar on 6th street watching a Bill Self led Illinois team beating Kansas in the touirnament, I remarked that those are the kind of the big and tough players that we need. And low and behold these years later, WE HAVE THOSE BIG TOUGH PLAYERS and we will win with them. Go Mighty Kansas Jayhawks. Let's clean house.

9 years, 8 months ago

“Years ago in a bar on 6th street watching a Bill Self led Illinois team beating Kansas in the touirnament, I remarked that those are the kind of the big and tough players that we need. And low and behold these years later, we have those big tough players and we will win with them.”

Amen, hammerhawk. I was thinking the exact same thing when I watched that game. I loved our fun-n-gun offense back then, but our defense was pillowy soft. If we weren't hitting our shots, we were doomed.

Duke Christoffersen 9 years, 8 months ago

I see the point, but I can't say I completely agree with "more will than skill." Sure, playing defense has a lot to do with will, but it is just as much, if not more, a skill as offense.

JayHawkFanToo 9 years, 8 months ago

Interesting article about Haith.

He was a below average coach in the ACC and never finished better than fifth in the conference; he was just a lucky fluke this season and he will likely never had similar success once he brings his own recruits. Once sanctions hit, MU will be in trouble; I predict a new coach in 3-4 years.

katiekelley 9 years, 8 months ago

WOW - a win over a 10 seed !!!!!!!!!!!!!

9 years, 8 months ago

Any place is a good place for recruiting info - thanks, Mike!

wildjayhawk 9 years, 8 months ago

We got lucky but, the next one, NC ST., will be the end of KU.

Benjamin Piehler 9 years, 8 months ago

Luck was Hummel shooting as well as he did the 1st half. Defense won it for "us". Excuse us while we ammend our Sweet Sixteen banner...

Benjamin Piehler 9 years, 8 months ago

Missouricat; if you want to convince people you are two different people, I suggest you stop using the same grammatical errors and posting a few minutes apart.

Ben Simonett 9 years, 8 months ago

this article disgusts me,

I refuse to give Missaey credit for anything our teams accomplish

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