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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Tubby Smith: Bill Self ‘deserves’ to be Big 12 Coach of Year

Kansas head coach Bill Self walks off with forward Landen Lucas after locking up a share of their twelfth-straight Big 12 title with the trophy following their 67-58 win over the Red Raiders, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self walks off with forward Landen Lucas after locking up a share of their twelfth-straight Big 12 title with the trophy following their 67-58 win over the Red Raiders, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Entering Saturday’s showdown with No. 2 Kansas University at Allen Fieldhouse, Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith’s squad had won five consecutive games, six of its last seven and elevated Smith from a coach fans grumbled about to a front-runner for Big 12 coach of the year honors.

And then the Jayhawks knocked off the Red Raiders, 67-58, to clinch KU’s 12th consecutive Big 12 regular-season title, and even Smith felt the need to tip his cap in the direction of KU coach Bill Self.

“I doubt it,” said Smith, asked if he’d ever see anything like KU’s streak again. “I didn’t think I’d see it now, but... It’s amazing what Bill Self has done and I think he deserves to be coach of the year. There’s been banter about me, but I think he’s done a fantastic job.”

Smith said KU’s ability to keep its Big 12 title run alive during a season in which the conference has had six teams regularly appear in the weekly top 25 made this year’s title all the more impressive.

“It’s an indication of just how talented and how good Kansas is,” Smith said. “Because it is a very talented league. The Big 12 is the toughest league in the country. Coach Self and his staff have put together a team that is very capable of winning it all. A lot goes into play when that happens. You have to stay healthy, you gotta pass the rock, the ball’s gotta fall your way. But they certainly have the depth and the bench strength to get things done and they’re playing well at the right time.”

That was not the case when these two faced each other in early January. KU (25-4 overall, 13-3 Big 12) won that game in Lubbock by a similar score (69-59), but Texas Tech senior and leading scorer, Toddrick Gotcher, who dropped in a game-high 20 points on 5-of-9 shooting from three-point range in the rematch, said the group he competed against on Saturday looked drastically different.

“They’re more complete,” Gotcher said. “Each guy knows their role on the team and they know when to take the shot and who takes the shot. They’re gonna make a good run in the tournament.”

Added Smith: “Roles are defined better and that usually helps the kids understand, ‘Hey, this is what my opportunity is and when it’s gonna come.’”

As for the specifics of Saturday’s loss, both Smith and Gotcher pointed to one moment — one shot — that wound up playing a huge role in Texas Tech (18-10, 8-8) falling short.

With KU leading 34-29 and the seconds ticking off the first-half game clock, KU guard Frank Mason III pushed the ball up the floor and found sophomore Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (17 points on 5-of-5 shooting from three-point range) on the right wing for a three-pointer that swished through the net as the first-half buzzer sounded.

“We thought we were coming into halftime only down five, and they hit that big three at the buzzer,” Gotcher said.

Added Smith: “It barely got passed. (Tech freshman) Jordan Jackson kind of mistimed his jump and if we get that steal and get that stop, it would’ve helped. That was a big shift in momentum.” 

— See what people were saying about Kansas vs. Texas Tech during KUsports.com’s live coverage


More news and notes from KU’s win over Texas Tech





By the Numbers: Kansas 67, Texas Tech 58

By the Numbers: Kansas 67, Texas Tech 58

Comments

Steve Macy 3 years, 8 months ago

First the money was on Lon, now it is on Tubby, but to me it will always be Bill.

Michael Lorraine 3 years, 8 months ago

I'd be okay with Tubby. He definitely deserves consideration.

Rich Hageman 3 years, 8 months ago

How could anybody other than Coach Self win Coach of the Year ??? Tubby has an 8-8 conference record !!! Coach of the year !!! Don't think so !!

Joe Ross 3 years, 8 months ago

All Homerism aside, if Self had Tubby Smith's players he might not even be 8-8. But I have always hated how finishing records weigh in so heavily for awards like this. It's called "Coach of the Year", not "Coach With the Best Record". What Smith has done with his guys this season has been truly remarkable, especially given the fact that no one had any expectations from TT this year. Theyve played everyone tough, and done so in a year where the conference was better than ever. If I had a vote, Id cast it for Tubby Smith. Taking nothing away from our own Coach Self, but he had quality players who just won gold. Smith didn't.

Mick Allen 3 years, 8 months ago

Tubby's Raiders were picked to finish 10th in the preseason poll

Gerry Butler 3 years, 8 months ago

Mainly because Texas Tech was predicted to finish last and look where they are at. They came in winners of 5 in a row, projected as an NCAA tourney team now, Knocked off multiple top 25 teams, playing in this crazy league unbelievable how rough this league is beating up on one another night in night out, I've got no problem with Tubby being coach of the year. Again they were predicted for last. They have a 8-8 record in the best league in the Nation, We did what we were projected to do. Bill is one hell of a Coach I'll take him any day BUT let Tubby have the Coach of the year- - I'll take the Conference championship and hopefully bigger things in Apr in Houston

Joe Ross 3 years, 8 months ago

Agree. Even after accomplishing what he has this year, the fact that Tubby would not draw attention to himself speaks of the kind of class befitting a coach of the year. Tubby is the man this year.

Bryce Landon 3 years, 8 months ago

Toddrick Gotcher: They’re gonna make a good run in the tournament.

Todd, I certainly hope you're right.

Dale Rogers 3 years, 8 months ago

Bill Self has done a masterful job but expectations were high for KU. Tubby Smith has his team performing way, way beyond expectations and that, to me, defines the coach of the year. If I had a vote it would be for Tubby Smith.

John Pritchett 3 years, 8 months ago

"KU’s ability to keep its Big 12 title run alive during a season in which the conference has had six teams regularly appear in the weekly top 25..."

When the amazing Jayhawks' title streak is talked about, and it will be remembered as one of the most impressive streaks in sports, this will be the strongest argument for that greatness. More than how many titles they won in a row, whether it's one less than UCLA, tied with UCLA or even more than UCLA, it will be the way Kansas did it, not playing against clearly inferior competition year in and year out, but against top quality opponents, and at its pinnacle against six top 25 teams, that defines the greatness of this streak.

Un. Be. Lievable.

Harlan Hobbs 3 years, 8 months ago

Tubby is a class act, and for what he has done this year, he clearly deserves to be the Coach of the Year. At the same time, I wouldn't trade Coach Self for anyone. What he does both on and off the court is simply outstanding, and I can't wait until he is inducted into the Hall of Fame.

I hope that Tubby's success continues at Tech. He got the shaft at Kentucky and Minnesota in my opinion. That's one of the great things at KU. We really honor loyalty and tradition, from Drs. Naismith and Allen to today.

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