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Originally published March 24, 2013 at 11:33p.m., updated March 25, 2013 at 12:08p.m.

Notebook: Bill Self says team ‘fortunate’ to have three-game NCAA win streak over UNC

Kansas coach Bill Self cheers from the sidelines in the second-half of the Jayhawks 70-58 win against North Carolina Sunday, March 24, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo..

Kansas coach Bill Self cheers from the sidelines in the second-half of the Jayhawks 70-58 win against North Carolina Sunday, March 24, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo..

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KU-UNC reaction

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self, Travis Releford, Jeff Withey

Kansas coach Bill Self and seniors Travis Releford and Jeff Withey talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 70-58 victory over North Carolina on March 24, 2013.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

UNC coach Roy Williams, Marcus Paige, James Michael McAdoo

North Carolina coach Roy Williams, guard Marcus Paige and forward James Michael McAdoo talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 70-58 victory over UNC on March 24, 2013.

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Box score

KU-UNC

— Current Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self wasn’t gloating on Sunday after leading the Jayhawks to their third victory in as many tries against his predecessor Roy Williams’ North Carolina Tar Heels.

“We’ve been fortunate the three times we played them since I’ve been at KU,” Self said after a 70-58 victory in Sprint Center. A year ago, KU won, 80-67, in an Elite Eight battle in St. Louis. In 2008, KU prevailed, 84-66, in a Final Four semifinal in San Antonio.

“Last year was a coin-flip game that we made all the plays in the last four minutes. One-point game. We watched it today. Of course, we played great in 2008. Today was not one of those games.

“I don’t think it’s coach Williams at all,” Self added. “I think it would be anybody that’s on the other team, coaching the other team. When things don’t go well, you can’t allow other teams to play well. I thought that’s what happened tonight. Even though we played miserably the first half (in falling behind 30-21), I thought they could have played better, too. At least we kept ourselves within striking distance.”

Solid defense: KU senior Travis Releford held UNC’s Reggie Bullock to five points off 1-of-7 shooting.

“He did a great job on Bullock,” Self said. “The guy he’s checking who is right there as their leading scorer, gets five (points) and Travis gets 22. Of course he’s so steady and he’s a rock. He doesn’t get tired. He can play all day.”

Releford, who had 13 second-half points, hit KU’s first three-pointer of the NCAAs in a second-half opening 11-3 run that stretched to 29-8.

“I was wide open, stepped into it and took the shot,” Releford said of the bucket that cut the deficit to 30-26. “I wasn’t thinking, ‘We need the shot, need to make it.’ I was just focused on the game right then.”

Of Releford, KU center Jeff Withey said: “He put the team on his back tonight for sure. He played great defense. Offensively he was a stud.”

Next: KU will meet Michigan in the Sweet 16 on Friday in Dallas. “Michigan’s a great team, like North Carolina is a great team,” said freshman Perry Ellis, who scored three points with two boards in eight minutes. “It will be fun playing in the Sweet 16 for sure.”

KU’s Withey on falling behind, 30-21, at half: “We made some bonehead plays, especially me. I had six turnovers myself. A lot of that was just throwing it right to the defender. But second half, we kind of got a better feel for them, knew what they were going to do. We knew they were trying to gamble and trying to steal the ball every time. So we just played to that.”

Wesley hurts foot: KU junior forward Justin Wesley suffered a severely sprained right ankle at practice Saturday. He was on crutches and wore a boot on his foot while not suiting up for the game.

Self said there were no broken bones.

“X-rays were negative. We hope he’ll be able to participate in practice (this week) but there’s no timetable now,” Self said.

Self on experienced players helping the team advance: “I thought experience was important. I don’t think we demonstrated experience much during the first half. I thought our leadership wasn’t as good as what it should have been on the court. Second half, seemed like we communicated more, more energy. We came in the game ready to play. We came in the game playing with energy. We came in the game with the right mindset. But when things didn't go well, (it) kind of got away from us.

"Second half, after the game settled down, I just thought we got pretty good. Of course, the seniors were the huge reason why.”

This, that: KU has advanced to its 30th NCAA Tournament Sweet 16, including its seventh under head coach Bill Self. ... UNC leads the all-time series, 6-5. ... For the second straight game, and just the eighth time this season, KU trailed at the break. Kansas trailed 30-21, matching the Jayhawks’ largest halftime deficit of the season having trailed both Baylor and TCU by nine in road losses. It was the largest deficit overcome by KU this season as the Jayhawks evened the tally at 4-4 when behind at half. ... KU shot 25 percent (7-for-28) in the first half for its lowest field-goal percentage in a half in NCAA Tournament play. Kansas’ previous shooting low for a half was 28.6 percent in the second half against UCLA in the 1974 Final Four. ... KU had a season-high-tying 50 rebounds. The total was most in a regulation game this year, as KU had 50 boards in a double-overtime win at Oklahoma State. ... KU had a season-high 22 turnovers.

Individual notes: Travis Releford has 949 points in his career. ... Jeff Withey blocked five shots and topped his own KU single-season record set a year ago (140) with 141, while pushing his Big 12 and KU career record to 306 blocks. Withey’s blocks moved him past Duke’s Shelden Williams (39), Florida’s Joakim Noah (41) and Duke’s Shane Battier (42) into second place for career blocks in the NCAA Tournament at 44. Wake Forest’s Tim Duncan leads the all-time list with 50. Withey has blocked 12 shots in two games during this year’s tournament after setting the NCAA single tournament record with 31 a year ago.

Comments

eric poncharello 1 year ago

“Kansas? The sum is greater than the parts outside of McLemore and Withey, they’ve got Final Four experience, but I do like the guard play with Michigan. You’ve got NBA pros in that backcourt.” Quotes from some Michigan paper. Yeah, all last names of NBA players and we know who they are, Time to shut up all the so called experts on how Michigan will win against Kansas. We have talent and experience, I believe in these guy's this year because they waited there turn and they know it's there time. KANSAS WINS, beats MICHIGAN like a raggidy Andy.

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jessejayhawk 1 year ago

JB--- Please care to expound on the correlation between TO's and effectiveness of play----considering the fact that with 12 TO's first half and played like crap vs 11 TO's 2nd half and played like world champs.

Confusing as hell isn't it.

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Steve Brown 1 year ago

Someday Roy will hang it up and return to KU for alumni game and we will welcome him as we should. Until then beat his socks off every chance we get.

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JayHawkFanToo 1 year ago

Nothing would please me more that shutting this clown down:
http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/tournament/2013/story/_/page/expertMedcalf130325/2013-ncaa-tournament-how-selection-committee-reseed-sweet-16
He has continuously ranked KU lower than anyone else and he predicted that it would be the first one to lose. Did a KU fan steal his girlfriend? I don't understand his dislike of KU.

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chiefgordon 1 year ago

Withey Block Party = Stank Face

Withey Block Party = Stank Face by chiefgordon

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jaybate 1 year ago

Part 3

Let us get back to EJ and turnovers.

EJ has lost a lot of his athleticism due to injuries. He cannot necessarily just go get a basket with the current set of shock absorbers that he might once have been able to do.

But EJ can take frequent risks with the ball?

What if a big part of the reason KU were winning so much with a team many doubted could win 30 games were that on the offensive end, an extremely high percentage of his passes are passes to the KU players that can put the ball in the hole. Some times they are registered as assists, and other times they are just risky passes to the player than can make the next pass to the scorer?

I suspect this is what is happening to some extent.

Just as Self has told Ben and Naadir, shoot and keep shooting, perhaps Self has said, "I don't care how many TOs you make, keep making the passes that get us to points, not just those that move it around.

Think about this for a moment.

KU is beating lots and lots of teams with point guards that aren't turning the ball over hardly at all; i.e., low TOs., while KU is making lots of TOs.

Further, KU as a team is not infrequently making more TOs than the other teams.

What I think we are seeing being run is a high return offense being that depends on players constantly choosing to make passes with the highest return, rather than with the least risk.

One would tend to see more TOs, when a team played this way, and a relatively more productive offense despite the greater TOs.

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jaybate 1 year ago

Part 2

Take one kind of risk with the ball and the cost is loss of possession, but the benefit is a basket. Take another kind of risk with the ball and the cost is loss of possession, but the benefit may be a three point play, or a changing of momentum, or a getting of the ball into the hands of a heavily guarded, but better scorer, than into the hands of a poor shooter who is unguarded and so easy to pass to with a TO.

But take a really safe risk with the ball and one might achieve no score, not even a significant increase in the next pass away's probability for points.

Do you see where this is headed fellow members of the KU Center for Advanced Studies in Basketball?

One cannot simply look in the TO column of EJ's line score under this definition of a turnover and leap to the assumption that EJ made 6 TOs and so he is the worst point guard KU has ever had.

What if everyone of those TOs he made were part of a scheme to make only high return passes, whenever possible? What if he made a dozen high return passes and six of them yielded points and six of them resulted in TOs? How would this compare if EJ had instead made six safe passes to Kevin Young out front with not one TO, and, alas, not one point resulting either?

The point here is that the badness of a TO depends on the nature of the risk/return function inherent in the risk taken; i.e., in the pass made.

What I submit is that in games EJ makes lots of TOs, he is probably being asked by Self to go into attack mode and stay in attack mode, and make passes that can generate points instead of just make passes that are not stripped.

He is being asked to make passes to KU's players only in positions where they have a high probability of scoring and this is necessarily into the places that opposing teams are often guarding the tightest.

Now, we might fault EJ and Self for not attacking where they are defending the weakest, but what if KU's scorers are some what limited in where they can be effective scorers, maybe even unusually limited? Might it be possible that even Bob Cousy himself might have to endure a few turnovers to stay in attack mode with teammates that had somewhat limited opportunity sets of high probability scoring?

Michael Jordan jarred conventional thinking about scoring, when he said you've got to learn to make failure your ally, to view missing as the investment required in order to achieve making, or you will never be a great scorer. As Jordan said: I have to be willing to miss 60% of the time to help my team win. His confidence has to take that much failure. Jordan sort of turned conventional thinking about scoring on its head, but it was hard to argue with one of the five greatest players in the history of the game. He had some bonafides, so to speak.

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jaybate 1 year ago

"The High Return Passing Offense, or How I Learned to Love the TO and Stop Worrying about Single Elimination Basketball"

Part 1

We think we know what a turnover is. It is the original sin of basketball. It is evil incarnate. It is a 100% loss of opportunity to score. It is the giving of an opponent the chance to do that which we do not want done.

Right?

Well, in conventional thinking, yes, but...

KU has found a way to win despite TOs; so, this begs us to ask the following question.

What is a TO really?

Have we perhaps misunderstood, or oversimplified it?

Under the K.I.S.S. methodology of international basketball studies, its simple. Baking a pop tart ie., making a Pillsbury, i.e. committing a turnover is to give it to the opponent. Underlying assumption: Make fewer TOs and you are playing better. Make more and you are playing worse.

Ah, HA!!

That assumption seems no longer to hold with these Jayhawks.

Now, bring me my surgical thinking instruments.

Under the first jaybate heuristic of basketball analysis, one must question all definitions and assumptions--especially those held longest and believed with greatest confidence.

Why?

Because on such assumptions logical structures and superstructures are erected. And, so, if one can expose a faulty definition, or assumption, one gets a vast ripple effect--an analytical tsunami, if you will--washing over and wiping out massive quantities of stupidity about the game.

So: let's go to the definition of a turnover.

Conventional definition: offensive player makes a bad play and surrenders control of the ball to the opponent.

Could there be a more fitting definition?

How about this: A turnover is a negative outcome of a risk taken with the ball possession.

Oh, noooooo, jaybate, don't do this to basketball!! No, no, no, don't deconstruct the turnover definition. Please, basketball god, strike jaybate down. Cut off his metacarpal filanges, so he can't type anymore.

Sorry, thinking hurts sometimes.

A turnover is a negative outcome of a risk taken with the ball possession.

Fruit will be borne.

Believe.

So defined, the idea of a TO suggests that the nature of the risk feeds into the degree of badness of a TO. Risk conditions the turnover statistic.

What is risk. It is a probabiility distribution of possible outcomes from desired to undesired. Each point along the distribution has a trade of possible costs and benefits.

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kennethst 1 year ago

Anyone have schematics or blueprints for building a "Snow Jayhawk"? My afternoon project for my 3 year old. If not.....I figure we can put her stuffed Baby Jayhawk on the patio furniture and use it as a model.

This kid loves playing in the snow......and I use that asmy excuse to play in it as well.

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Randy Maxwell 1 year ago

People who think Roy didnt recruit the east to protect UNC are delusional, grow the hell up

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kennethst 1 year ago

3 straight losses by Roy's UNC to Kansas. Seems to me that what is not getting talked about is the fact that this shows how much better a coach Self is than Roy.......and completely and absolutely so. Self is too polite to say it, of course......and calls KU "fortunate". No......not fortunate. Self is by far the better coach.......BY FAR.

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Sam Constance 1 year ago

The so-called booing of Roy is getting overblown.

I was at the game. The boos weren't specific to Roy, but were just a part of the crowd booing the introductions of UNC. Say what you will about booing opponents' introductions, but it wasn't directed at Roy individually. Personally, I don't see how booing is that much more disrespectful than rustling a newspaper while holding it in front of your face. It's just part of college athletics--nothing to get worked up about.

I also got the impression that when Roy was introduced as the head coach for Carolina, the fans noticed the boos and the majority of fans spoke up pretty quickly to cheer. I know I did.

1

Ozfan67 1 year ago

I lean heavily towards Jaybate's view on Roy, though I'm sure I'm much stronger in my resentment. I will say someone posted elsewhere that Rio had disrespected Roy after the game which is completely unacceptable. I surely hope that isn't true.

One additional thought on Roy - it's real easy for everyone to be magnanimous right now given that we are moving on. We will be very young next year and UNC will have another year of experience for his very talented team as well as some studs coming in. We might find ourselves outside looking in on their run, and Roy not giving us the same consideration as he gave UNC in terms of recruiting will probably feel like a bigger deal.

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Dyrk Dugan 1 year ago

what a great 2nd half....epic comeback, and breaking of Roy's team, seems to be right up Bill Self's alley.

Roy's main Achilles heel as a coach is he plays the same way....no matter what the game plan is, it's all in. he has a different team this year, that doesn't have a dominant pt. guard, and big guys that can run....so he has to play small, and that's not up HIS alley.

the strategery worke for awhile....get in the passing lanes and steal the ball after it got to our bigs...but once we started making shots, the confidence went through the roof. we knew we could get anything we wanted inside....we just had to see some outside shots fall....and the D took over.

we've never beaten Michigan. it's time for that streak to go away. it's time for this team to put a full game together. it's time to put a chink in the Big 10's armor. it's just time.

Go Jayhawks!

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kennethst 1 year ago

Nice to see fire and leadership from Withey.....although I would think it's been there all the time.

I suspect Withey is like many of us......calm,polite,mild-mannered,reserved.....

But when you get his blood boiled ......look out! I have found in my life that the quiet and reserved people have the worst tempers of all.......and it's the everyday hotheads that have short tempers and can calm back down quickly.

Not so for those like Withey. When you get them riled......they stay riled.....angry.....mean.......and much later......back to their calm selves.

1

jaybate 1 year ago

Bill Self is the greatest KU coach I have ever seen.

I have been watching since Harp.

It is not even close.

Next.

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jaybate 1 year ago

For all the board rats feeling sorry for Roy: if he would just agree to recruit only west of the Mississippi to protect KU, as he did for UNC while KU's coach, I would cheer for him non stop and return to being one of his greatest admirers. But since he refuses to do that, we have no choice but to fight him at every turn and not be sucked in by his spin that invariably seems aimed to advance his and UNC's agenda, not KU's.

When Roy retires, and stops recruiting against Self and KU, I will beg him to come back and stand on the center circle on the James Naismith court that he did so much to restore to greatness. I love Roy so much that I would like to see KU go to the expense of repainting the center court jump circle to look exactly as Roy had it painted, when/if he returns (but quickly repainted of course). I want Roy to come back, and walk out the home team tunnel again and be presented with an official KU letter sweater--the old kind with a huge K on it that drapes over the shoulder, and a victors wreath and a large, old fashioned bottle of milk he will take a drink from and shoot that wondrous smile of his, and give him some fantastically valuable golf clubs, and a crimson and blue box of Kleenex, and I want the entire Allen Field House to stand and give him an ovation the likes of which he has never heard. And he can wear his UNC blazer, and he can say whatever he wants to say, and I don't care. He will deserve that right at that time. 15 years. 82% W&L. Four Final Fours. All accomplished in spite of Dean hamstringing him unfairly into recruiting only half the country.

But until that time, until Roy hangs up the whistle in Chapel Hell Hole, so long as he is out there spinning what happened and recruiting and working his "tail off" for the Tar Orifices east and west of the Mississippi, then Roy is the enemy--the head of the only program capable of legally challenging KU's leadership in the game. Until that time, Roy is just another coach that needs a good drubbing to silence his self serving spin in his quest to win more rings and recruit more talent at KU's expense.

Never make the same mistake Roy made: never try to serve two masters.

To every season turn, turn, turn...

Rock Chalk!

6

Tony Bandle 1 year ago

GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS.

1] THE GOOD NEWS. Bill gets 300, North Carolina goes 0-3, another Sweet Sixteen, UK's victory lead cut in half and NC's victory deficit doubled plus 1, Withey draft stock skyrocketing, we get to talk about KU tourney basketball for another week, at least one more game with "THe Fun Bunch" Seniors and UK, Missouri, Kansas State, North Carolina and Georgetown are all at home watching on TV.

2] THE BAD NEWS. Today.......THERE IS NO BAD NEWS!! :)

RCJHGOKU!!!

4

Jeremy Paul 1 year ago

Did Roy really get booed? That's too bad. He did a lot of great things for KU, and it sure stung when he ditched us, but now looking back I am SO glad that he left. We ended up being better off afterward, so I am happy the way things turned out.

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chaggs 1 year ago

Is Justin this tournament's version of Rodrick?

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Ronald Cox 1 year ago

Bill Self should admonish our fans to be a sportsmanlike as the team and not boo other teams or coaches. Our team does ot do that. Why boo Roy? he gave us a great 15 years. He wanted to go home which any of us could understand. He is family. I am ashamed of our fans who boo others at a game.

4

longhawk 1 year ago

Gary, while you're fixing the stats (like correcting Self's Sweet 16 appearances under Kansas to 7 in stead of 6), also note that Withey has 44 tournament blocks. 12 this year, 31 last year, AND 1 in the 2010 season.

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Chris Shaw 1 year ago

I really like how Bill Self schemed yesterday against Hairston, Bullock, and Paige. Bullock got shot down against Relly. I think Young's "length" got Hairston off to a slow start and Paige got a couple of buckets, but for the most part defensively...KU was awesome yesterday.

I think the same can be done against Burke, Hardaway, and Staukas (Sp?). You can't leave Staukas ever. Hardaway has a better game than Bullock as he can put the ball on the flor. Burke is much better with the ball and quicker than paige so it will be interesting to see how Kansas scout's Burke.

I am just hoping the officials don't have that "Quick Whistle" against Withey. They did it to him twice yesterday which I thought were clean blocks as well.

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Chris Shaw 1 year ago

Come on Relly...lead us to the National Championship. All you have to do is average 12.75 points over the next 4 games to get to a 1000 baby! Let's do this!

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Chris Shaw 1 year ago

Gary, doesn't Jeff Withey have 12 blocks in this year's NCAA tournament? 7 against WKU and 5 last night against UNC? Good article.

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Michael Luby 1 year ago

Im scared for Michigan. If KU turns it over too much, it wont be good. I love this team and I don't want to see them go out like that. But on the other hand, Id be just as scared or worse for VCU. Both are tough matches.

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KJD 1 year ago

The Big Board of All Time Victories:

2111 Kentucky

2101 Kansas

2090 North Carolina

Bill Self is 8-0 vs Michigan

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jaybate 1 year ago

Withey going 16 and 16 is LARGE.

Travis going +19 on their leading scorer is EPIC.

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jayhawkinnc 1 year ago

Gary,

You might want to edit your numbers above......It's KU's 7th Sweet 16 appearance under Bill Self, not 6th:

(2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013)

:)

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Joel Thomas 1 year ago

Will miss these seniors. However far they go.

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