Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Opinion: Cyclones give boost to college hoops


— The ugliness of the aftermath late Monday night deflected attention from the prettiest college basketball game in this season littered with ugly ones.

The return of beautiful basketball for 45 minutes Monday night in Hilton Coliseum can be traced to two factors. No. 1: Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg’s fast-paced, spread-the-floor-and-let-the-shooters-shoot brand of basketball. No. 2: Kansas can compete and win games played at every pace.

KU wins the majority of close games and Iowa State tends to lose them, in part a function of Kansas playing more sound defense.

Give Hoiberg credit for elevating the Iowa State program in terms of victories and popularity, even though the Cyclones fell just short, 108-96, in overtime on a night two calls from officials went against the Cyclones late in regulation. Basketball programs across America that repeatedly find themselves on the wrong side of the NCAA Tournament bubble need to emulate what Hoiberg is doing. He gets more out of transfers than their previous coaches because he encourages them to shoot and frees their minds.

“We’re playing with a tremendous amount of confidence on the offensive end, as much as any team I’ve been around,” Hoiberg said. “We share the ball. We space the floor. We trust each other at that end of the court. We just have to carry it over and find a way to grind out those stops when they matter most.”

Both teams hit big shot after big shot, so many of them tightly guarded.

“I know Fred’s crushed and I would be too if the outcome were different because both teams played so well,” Self said afterward. ‘He’ll watch the tape and I’ll watch the tape. I guarantee you I don’t know if we’ve had two teams in the same game execute as well offensively as both teams did tonight. That was two good teams playing. The crowd was unbelievable, great, and our guys responded well to the atmosphere. It was as much fun as I’ve had all year long coaching a game.”

Hoiberg indeed was crushed, having watched his team score 89 and 96 points against one of the nation’s toughest defenses, only to lose twice in overtime. Still, his heavy heart didn’t blind his vision.

“It was an entertaining basketball game, I’ll say that in a season you see 30-29 games, 50-45,” Hoiberg said. “If nothing else, we gave our fans their money’s worth. We try to play a very exciting style of basketball. We try to get it out and we have five playmakers on the floor at one time. We’ve created a buzz because of our style of play and we’re going to continue to play that way. We just have to find a way to get some stops. And when we do that, I think we have a long season ahead of us.”

By long season, Hoiberg meant one that includes NCAA Tournament success. If the Cyclones get into the field, the tournament benefits.


Ferd Magellan 1 year, 1 month ago

Nothing but threes and free throws is not beautiful basketball for this fan.


Pamela Shanks 1 year, 1 month ago

If we are going to consider all plays throughout the game, how big would the early technical foul shots have seemed if we lost by one. Am I remembering right? Did they make one and miss one? Agree with all the posters who point out that early play is as important as late play, early calls as important as late calls. It is the hardest part of any sport. Playing with intensity no matter what the clock says.


Jeffrey Nelson 1 year, 1 month ago

Winning style of basketball > exciting style of basketball



JL 1 year, 1 month ago

The Cyclones didn't lose in regulation. They lost in overtime. They had the same opportunities in overtime that KU did-so people, quit whining about controversial calls in regulation time. There are always controversial calls--beginning, middle and end of the game. So suck it up and play overtime like you want to win--not fall apart. Jayhawks got the job done. Cyclones didn't--no matter what the calls were.


Phoghorn 1 year, 1 month ago

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fu7il3 1 year, 1 month ago

I'm at every KU home game. I've seen many instances where I was embarrassed by our own fans, and they rarely have a reason to be anything but happy at home. As far as the foul, I think some of us have our homer glasses on. It's okay to admit it was a bad call, they aren't going to take away the win. Put it in perspective. If they would have called a foul on T-Rob at the end of the Mizzou game last year, we would be reacting exactly like Iowa State fans are right now.


Ryan Shelton 1 year, 1 month ago

The crowd in this situation reminds me of when Rex Walters got hit with a quarter in Manhattan in the 92-93 season. Rex was classy with the remark, saying only that he wishes he would have picked up the quarter because he could use the money!


dylans 1 year, 1 month ago

Given Withey's difficulty guarding on the perimeter, would a new defense be in order? Maybe the reverse box in 1? Withey plays zone d in the lane - the enforcer position. Everyone else plays man D. This wouldn't work against a team that can shoot 3s at all 5 spots like ISU, but would work where the 5 is just used as a decoy to draw Jeff out of the paint.


Bob Bailey 1 year, 1 month ago

Good knowledgeable comments. Just be good enough you can win in spite of 'incmpetent officiating'. We were. We did. Keep it up!


seagull 1 year, 1 month ago

The Cyclone team and coach may boost college basketball--they are certainly fun to watch--but Monday's fans didn't. Apparently the fans wanted to prove ESPN announcers Musberger and Fraschilla wrong for their positively glowing descriptions of the nice ISU fans. For all their passion, KU fans might boo the refs, but they'd never boo or throw things at opposing players for winning. Perhaps in addition to teaching defense and mental toughness, Hoiberg also needs to teach fans what it means to be a winner (which also means losing with class). It's hard to imagine a man with his reputation and game demeanor would condone such fan behavior. But as the mayor, he is the one who can lead a charge to change it.


Cameron Cederlind 1 year, 1 month ago

Can anyone here answer me this: The no call benefits neither team and was definitely a bad no call but the reaching foul on the ground, did Tharpe not make that wide open 3 after EJ passed it to him? That would have had KU winning the game in regulation instead of forcing a possible OT with 2 free throws. So in the end, wouldn't the call on the ground have benefited ISU in that it didn't allow Tharpe a wide open 3 and also forced EJ to make 2 shots to stretch the game? That was my thought after watching the replay multiple times.


CHEEZIT 1 year, 1 month ago

Did I miss it? It sure didn't seem like the coaching staff put up much of a stink when Withey supposedly got his fifth foul that they gave to Young. It may not be reviewable but it didn't seem like they were too upset.


Alex Graves 1 year, 1 month ago

One thing that I haven't seen anyone talk about is how well Perry Ellis played. With 8pts and 6rebs off the bench. Hit some nice mid-range jumpers and made most of his shots in close. It would be an nice boost of the bench if we can get those numbers from him the rest of the season!


Micky Baker 1 year, 1 month ago

I have no problem with farmers of any kind. During my first summer between freshman and sophomore years I worked on a farm. This farm was not just corn and wheat. There were 2500 head of hogs and we did crop dusting. I worked on the crop dusting. The hours, 5:30 am to 10:00 pm during the busiest parts of the seasons. Up before the crack of dawn, first one at the hangar to pull the aircraft out on the tarmac. Wax the wings so the bugs wash off easier after the sunsets. Wash the windows of the planes and the choppers. Fuel them up, get the first loads loaded. Then the pilots arrive and fire 'em up and here we go. Farmers aren't hillbillies. Kansas is an agricultural state as well. Go try it if you think you're so bad. It isn't a 9 to 5 job.

"And on the ninth, day" Paul Harvey.


Jack Wilson 1 year, 1 month ago

Brock's comment on the Cyclone defense begs the question on our defense, right?

It is simple, really. It goes to our inability to guard a small team, where Withey's matchup can hit the three. Withey just can't guard out on the floor. Not surprising.

Last season, vs. MU, Withey sat in favor of Teahan. We had to adjust to MU's small lineup, not the other way around.

We will have problems with any team (of a decent skill level) that does this.

Compounding our problems was the ISU strategy when they were on defense. They completely sagged off of KY. Go back and watch. He gets it high and his defender is play 50/50 .. equal distance between KY and the basket. He was easy help on Withey, or a drive. KY did a nice job every so often, but without a "high" 4 that can bury the 15 footer two out of three times (as Self was quoted earlier this season), the defense can be effective.

Self went small with Releford at the 4 for long stretches, and that obviously helped.

Against a "small" lineup, we aren't athletic on the defensive end in the post to continue to play conventional -- because of Withey. And Withey's effectiveness is partially nullified. Look at his block totals (he still changes shots, just not as much when he's stretched out on the floor).

Late game, when Withey fouled out, Ellis was the only post player in the game. I also think KY could survive in that situation, too.

If we lose that game at ISU, the main topic of conversation would have been the outrageous number of points our "defense first" team gave up.And why it happened. No doubt. And it should be the topic now, too.

Self has to find the right formula to combat the small, athletic lineup. Something beyond winning in OT. If you're a lower seeded team in the NCAA, that should be the first thought in a game vs. KU. Play small. Less minutes for Withey is the best solution, I think, in those situations.

Personally, I wouldn't hesitate to go small -- Tharpe, EJ, McLemore, Releford, and Withey -- just like Self has done. When it is apparent that Withey's man is stretching the floor too much and diminishing Withey's effectiveness, I'd go right to Ellis and take out Withey. Further, I'd consider Ellis more and more when teams are sagging off KY at the 4 because Ellis is a better 15 foot shooter than KY. We could also play KY and Ellis together. Beating a dead horse here, but White could be useful as a small 4 -- though that ship is sailing out of port right now.

A herculean effort by EJ saved us vs. ISU's small attack. That's the best formula to attack KU right now. It negates our defensive advantage with Withey.

And playing small might be a bit of a preview of what could be our best lineup for 2013-14, too.


Casey Gee 1 year, 1 month ago

It is sad that an otherwise excellent game was spoiled by the poor officiating and the poor fan response by Iowa St. I have always thought of Hilton as a very good college atmosphere with hospitable fans. Somewhat like a smaller version of Allen Fieldhouse. However, I truly cannot imagine fans at AFH universally throwing objects at the opposing team or charging at the coach of the opposing team (even if only to yell in his face). I know we certainly didn't after Marcus Smart's backflip or Phil Forte's late unnecessary lay-up.


Robert Brock 1 year, 1 month ago

Hoiberg needs to teach a little more D; letting Kansas score so easily was the Clone downfall.


Geezer 1 year, 1 month ago

Bill Self with Kansas in games that go to overtime is 12-1 in his last 13 OT games and 7-0 in his last 7 OT games. He is 14-5 overall at Kansas in OT games, but has been legendary since starting 2-4 in the early years.


Kent Richardson 1 year, 1 month ago

Self was concerned about his team not himself. He played it just right. It puts the shuffle he dispayed during the OK State as an indication of how bad he wanted that victory. Master of behavior based coaching. I have seen a lot of games this year, not talking KU, when a team is unconscious from three early it usually signals the death knell for the opposition unless it is answered in kind. Thanks to Tharpe and Releford. This season has validated how important confidence is and I hope Perry takes the next step now. I know I am looking ahead too much, but how brutal and competitive will the Big 12 tournament be?


Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 1 month ago

IowaSt fans should be questioning why their players were so lackluster in 2 different overtimes? And then ask themselves if maybe....just maybe EJ's final dunk was to simply shut up the crowd chanting "F--- Kansas" all game? If so, they got what they deserved. And then, incredibly, they throw things at our players, and take to twitter to make racial slurs about our players! Is that acceptable? EJ having to be escorted out by several security personnel...Is that acceptable? I guarantee you the Allen Fieldhouse crowd would NEVER behave like that.


Joe Ross 1 year, 1 month ago

Good article, Keegan. As a basketball fan, i say its a shame that either team had to lose that game. Both played with heart and gave 110% effort. As a Kansas fan, however, I'm glad we won. Bottom line: the call at the end of the game was a bad one, but Kansas had bad calls against them as well. I don't understand all the misguided statements about calls down the stretch being more important. Hey...the buckets scored at the beginning of the game STILL COUNT when the clock reaches 00:00. Likewise, bad calls called early are still critical calls. There were bad calls on Withey early that caused him to play timidly late, and you can't tell me that didn't affect Iowa State's ability to score. Having said all of that, there was a stark contrast in class showed within the Iowa State camp: the fans pelting our players and charging our coach on the one hand, and Fred Hoiberg taking a loss as graciously as a coach can given all that was riding on it (possibly an NCAA berth was lost?) on the other. Let me tell you something: Fred Hoiberg is a class act, ladies and gentlemen! And he would have been one even if Iowa State had won that game. I would hope that if Kansas fans were disappointed in a loss due to a controversial call, that we would not assault the other team's players.


LovetheHawks63 1 year, 1 month ago

It was a thrilling game but in my mind it called attention to the need for all our Big 12 coaches to address hospitality and good sportsmanship among the fan base. The fans look up to the coaches and the players, they need to hear no hate speech or disrespectful actions will be tolerated.


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