Recap: Startling numbers about KU's recent losses as a double-digit favorite in the NCAAs


Note: Here is a listing of definitions for some terms used in this blog. Also, feel free to ask questions in the comments section below if something doesn't make sense.

It's two days after VCU's 71-61 victory over Kansas in the Elite Eight, and honestly, the longer I think about it, the worse I think this loss was for KU.

Because it was the Elite Eight and not the first or second round, most KU fans I've read on here have been pretty forgiving and have seemed to shrug off the defeat as "one of those days."

It's just tough for me to see it that way when KU had probably the easiest path in history to the national championship game (KenPom had KU with a 49-percent chance to win the whole thing before the VCU game) before failing to even make the Final Four.

Let's start with this: KU coach Bill Self is a victim of his own success. He took a top-15 preseason team and molded it into one of the best in the country. He won at least a share of his seventh straight Big 12 title and also led his team to a 35-2 record before its final loss.

But that amazing success in the regular season just boosts expectations for the postseason. He's his own worst enemy in that regard.

Kansas head coach Bill Self directs the offense against Virginia Commonwealth during the first half on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Kansas head coach Bill Self directs the offense against Virginia Commonwealth during the first half on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. by Nick Krug

Having said all that, KU should have cakewalked to the Final Four after getting by Illinois.

I know I bring up KenPom a lot, and his projections gave KU an 88-percent chance of winning the game against VCU on a neutral court. And trust me, the Alamodome was anything but neutral, as KU fans outnumbered the other fans about 10-to-1.

The percentages for KU losing by 10? I can't think that would be better than 1 in 100.

But let's forget KenPom for a second and just look at the Vegas lines. KU was an 11-point favorite over VCU.

I've heard the argument that these same types of upsets in the NCAA Tournament have happened lately at the other big-name schools as well.

I did some research, and that simply isn't true.

Since the 2003-04 season (Self's first at KU), I looked back at all the NCAA Tournament games for the four biggest name college basketball programs: Kansas, Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina.

During that time span, those four teams have gone a combined 31-4 in games where they were favored by 10 points or more in Vegas.

The four losses? Take a look below.

2004 — Kentucky favored by 10 (loss to UAB)
2005 — Kansas favored by 13.5 (loss to Bucknell)
2010 — Kansas favored by 11.5 (loss to Northern Iowa)
2011 — Kansas favored by 11 (loss to VCU)

As a double-favorite in the NCAA Tournament in the last eight years, North Carolina is 10-0. Duke is 9-0. Kentucky is 4-1.

And Kansas is 8-3*.

* — It's worth noting that Kentucky and North Carolina both failed to make the NCAA Tournament during certain seasons in that stretch — something else to keep in mind. Self gets KU to the Tournament every year, which is a credit to him.

When favored by 10-12 points in the last two seasons, KU is 10-0 before the NCAA Tournament. And 1-2 during the NCAA Tournament.

It's something that can't be ignored.

The Kansas Jayhawks sit in a somber locker room following their 71-61 loss to Virginia Commonwealth on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

The Kansas Jayhawks sit in a somber locker room following their 71-61 loss to Virginia Commonwealth on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. by Nick Krug

On Sunday, much of KU's improbable loss was blamed on its shooting.

The best shooting team in the nation (KU had a 57 percent effective field-goal percentage* coming in) posted an eFG% of 37.1 percent — the worst shooting performance by the Jayhawks in the last two seasons.

* — eFG% takes into account the extra value of three-pointers by giving them 1.5 times the credit of twos.

KU also made just 2 of 21 threes (9.5 percent), also its worst mark in the last two years.

How bad was it for KU? Here's a typical shot chart for KU, this one from the first half against Richmond. The circled numbers mean a shot was made, while the numbers to the side of the baseline are layups.

Now, look at KU's second half against VCU.

That's right. The Jayhawks made just one true jump shot in 18 second-half attempts (5.6 percent).

Can this be explained? The best shooting team in the nation making one jump shot in an entire half?

Kansas guard Tyrel Reed attempts a shot under the outstretched arm of Virginia Commonwealth guard Bradford Burgess during the first half on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Kansas guard Tyrel Reed attempts a shot under the outstretched arm of Virginia Commonwealth guard Bradford Burgess during the first half on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. by Nick Krug

You can call it a bad shooting day, but uncanny poor shooting is becoming a pattern for KU in its recent Elite Eight games.

Below are KU's effective field-goal percentages from Self's four Elite Eight appearances, along with KU's season average for eFG% that year.

2004 vs. Georgia Tech — 44.6 eFG% (season eFG% of 51.4%)
2007 vs. UCLA — 44.6 eFG% (season eFG% of 54.5%)
2008 vs. Davidson — 49.0 eFG% (season eFG% of 56.7%)
2011 vs. VCU — 37.1 eFG% (season eFG% of 57.0%)

The point here isn't that KU shot worse than its season average. That's most likely going to happen against a tough opponent in the NCAA Tournament.

In almost all the games, though, KU's shot significantly worse than its season average.

I looked up free-throw percentages from the Elite Eight games, and KU shot below its average in each of those four games as well.

Again, it's something worth exploring for Self. What's the reason for his team's tight play, especially in that Elite Eight round?

"It's amazing to me that we're 6-1 in Sweet 16 and 1-5 in Elite Eight games," Self said Tuesday. "That's the kind of stuff. I need to look at. ... This was the loosest we've ever been going into a game. Even our coaches said, 'Gawdang, if you're tight, no one knows it.' The loosest we've been, so that doesn't guarantee anything either."

It sure appeared to be a different Self once he stepped on the sideline.

One national media member, after watching Self on the bench during the VCU game, told me it almost seemed to him like Self was strangling his team on the sidelines with quick subouts and sharp words, and his team seemed to respond negatively because of it.

Kansas head coach Bill Self walks the sideline during the second half of KU's loss to Virginia Commonwealth Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Kansas head coach Bill Self walks the sideline during the second half of KU's loss to Virginia Commonwealth Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. by Mike Yoder

Self can't shoot shots, but he can affect the mindset of his team during those games.

Some of these NCAA occurrences don't look like flukes any more. They're starting to look like patterns.

And Self — as he promised Tuesday — will surely do some self-examination to see how his team could be better prepared in future years.

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

Only two KU players can even be considered for this award, and though Marcus Morris played harder, Tyshawn Taylor earns the M.O.J. for being a little bit better.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor defends a drive by Virginia Commonwealth guard Darius Theus during the second half on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor defends a drive by Virginia Commonwealth guard Darius Theus during the second half on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. by Nick Krug

Amazingly, the junior guard was the only player on the Jayhawks’ roster to post better than 1 point per possession used against VCU. Taylor notched 1.23 PPP used while ending 17.8 percent of KU’s possessions. His floor percentage (the percentage of possessions he ended where KU scored at least one point) was a team-high 61.3 percent.

Taylor also led KU in effective field-goal percentage (66.6 percent, no one else shot above 46 percent) and assist percentage, contributing 24.6 percent of KU’s assists when he was in.

He just didn’t get help offensively from anyone besides Marcus (0.94 PPP used, 28.6 percent possessions ended).

Room for Improvement

VCU came in scoring 35.4 percent of its points from three-pointers. On Sunday, the Rams scored 50.7 percent of their points from threes.

Kansas guard Brady Morningstar defends a three-pointer from Virginia Commonwealth forward Bradford Burgess during the first half on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Kansas guard Brady Morningstar defends a three-pointer from Virginia Commonwealth forward Bradford Burgess during the first half on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. by Nick Krug

Yes, VCU did hit some tough threes, but it also hit some wide-open ones as well.

Whether it was poor execution of the gameplan or a bad gameplan, KU unnecessarily helped way too much on dribble penetration, allowing the Rams to kick out for open shots.

It was a drastic two-game turnaround for KU’s perimeter defense. After holding 40-percent three-point shooting Richmond to 4-for-26 outside shooting on Friday (15.4 percent), KU allowed 37-percent three-point shooting VCU to hit 12 of 25 threes on Sunday (48 percent).

Coming in, three-point defense hadn’t been a KU weakness. Opponents had made just 29.8 percent of their threes against KU.

That didn’t matter much to VCU, which made 9 of its first 15 threes during the decisive first half.

Here’s a stat I picked up from John Gasaway on Twitter: In five NCAA Tournament games, VCU has made 43.8 percent of its two-pointers. And 43.8 percent of its three-pointers.

I’m not sure why KU’s defenders were so worried about helping out on drives at the risk of giving up open threes, but it definitely cost the Jayhawks.

Tough-Luck Line

In a game full of bad performances, Josh Selby’s was the worst.

The freshman posted just 0.57 points per possession used while ending 11.7 percent of KU’s possessions. In 15 minutes, he also had no rebounds, no assists, no steals and no turnovers.

There’s some debate on the usefulness of the plus-minus statistic, but Selby’s was so bad on Sunday that it’s hard to ignore.

During his 15 minutes on the court, KU was outscored 35-15. That also means, in his 25 minutes off the court, KU outscored VCU by 10.

The play-by-play makes things look even worse.

Selby checked into the game at the 13:38 mark of the first half with KU trailing 12-10. When he left the court at the 9:48 mark, KU trailed 20-10.

Then, in the second half, Selby checked in at the 13:11 mark with KU trailing 46-44. When Selby checked out at the 8:48 mark, KU trailed 57-47.

That’s not all on Selby, obviously. He was part of some funky rotations then, and he was one of only five players out there.

That doesn't change the fact that he was on the court for two of the most important stretches of Sunday’s game. And during those nine minutes, KU was outscored 19-3.

The VCU bench celebrates a turnover against Kansas on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

The VCU bench celebrates a turnover against Kansas on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. by Mike Yoder

I often talk about players’ points per possessions used. Multiply this number by 100, and you have the statistic known as a player’s offensive rating.

Here are the final offensive ratings for KU’s rotation players this season, along with their percent of possessions ended, from

Brady Morningstar 122.7 (14.9 percent)
Marcus Morris 122.1 (26 percent)
Tyrel Reed 122.1 (13.1 percent)
Markieff Morris 120.4 (25 percent)
Travis Releford 118.4 (17.1 percent)
Elijah Johnson 114.9 (13.7 percent)
Mario Little 114.0 (18.6 percent)
Jeff Withey 110.0 (20 percent)
Thomas Robinson 109.0 (26.5 percent)
Tyshawn Taylor 104.2 (21.3 percent)
Josh Selby 94.2 (23.8 percent)

Not only Selby the worst offensive player efficiency-wise for KU, he was the worst player by a good margin. He also was the fourth-highest usage player on the team, meaning oftentimes he was taking offensive possessions away from more efficient players.

When Selby became eligible in December, many wondered how much better he could make KU’s offense.

The numbers would tell us that he only made it worse.

Bottom Line

KU scored just 0.9 points per possession, the second-worst offensive performance of the season for the Jayhawks behind the Texas loss.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris pleads to Markieff Morris and Brady Morningstar to get it together against Virginia Commonwealth during the first half on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris pleads to Markieff Morris and Brady Morningstar to get it together against Virginia Commonwealth during the first half on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. by Nick Krug

Though KU's offensive rebounding was well above season average (42.2 percent offensive rebounding percentage, compared to season OR% of 36.7 percent) and its turnovers weren't bad (20.6 turnover percentage, which is a good number against VCU), it didn't matter because of the difference in the teams' shooting percentages.

VCU's eFG% of 50.9 percent was just above its season average, while KU's eFG% of 37.1 percent was its worst this season by a mile.

The Rams — coming in not even as a top-100 team in KenPom's adjusted defensive efficiency metric — held KU to the 17th-worst shooting game from a Big 12 team this entire season.

If that's a coincidence, then some pretty unnatural forces were at work Sunday.

There's no doubt Self did a good job this year of learning from the Northern Iowa loss to become a better Tournament coach. He was more focused on dictating tempo this year, pressing Boston and Richmond to speed them up, which helped the Jayhawks pull away during both games in the second half.

The growth should continue after this game.

Kansas head coach Bill Self, left, and Thomas Robinson (0) watch from the bench as the VCU Rams jump to an early lead on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Kansas head coach Bill Self, left, and Thomas Robinson (0) watch from the bench as the VCU Rams jump to an early lead on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. by Mike Yoder

I heard someone say that this isn't the worst Tournament loss for KU under Self, but it was the biggest blown opportunity. And I agree with that. To make the Final Four, KU had to win four games when it was favored by at least eight points in each game. Then, to make the championship game, KU would have to had beat Butler —  a game where it once again would have been about an eight-point favorite.

KU will never, in any year, have an easier road than that.

Self still seems to become a different coach in NCAA Tournament games: His screams are louder, his rants to the officials are longer, his sideline demeanor is more animated and his yanking of bench players is quicker.

I'm not sure why it's necessary when something else has led you to a 32-2 record.

After the Jayhawks scored the first six points on Sunday, VCU went on a 39-15 run. Think about that. How many times this season has KU allowed a team to show that kind of dominance over it?

During the stretch, KU's players looked tight. And nervous. And panicked.

No team can get to 35-2 unless it follows its coach's lead.

KU's players might have been doing that again — only this time, to their detriment.


SCHNBALL 9 years, 2 months ago

Jesse, if you read my comments right before tip, I was concerned about our overated 3 point defense and how well we stopped the 3 against Richmond. What Self has not figured out and what Cal and Shaka have this year is don't double the post, it's not worth it.

Look at Cal's comments after his last 2 games and the board in VCU locker room righ before the tip, straight up on the post with a little digging. Made 3's are worth a possession and a half, as Selby put it, they were not throwing up shot's they were shooting them, with ease.

Self needs an assistant that can game coach to help him, great guy, just to uptight when it counts.

Mike Kendall 9 years, 2 months ago

After reading the CramSession Jesse, everything sounded peachy and good but I did mention that Coach Self had only won one Elite 8 game in four attempts? Five attempts? So, I was a little nervous going into this game, having seen VCU in person. My gut feeling was we were going to struggle. SCHNBALL, I had your concerns, too!

Ann Oneill 9 years, 2 months ago

I've got an idea. Let's just stink up the regular season and the conference, so we don't make it to the Big Dance. Then the Media/opposing fans won't have an opportunity to blast the Jayhawks for choking. Geeze! Give it a rest!!!! KU shot like crap. VCU got lucky. End of story.

drbloom 9 years, 2 months ago

Every stat-head will make numbers conform to what they want them to be. Of course anyone who saw that game, knows KU lost it about every way possible. What isn't in the stat book is how many TERRIBLE calls killed momentum or outright gave VCU another chance to score. Bad officiating can easily leave players wondering if they should drive or pull up because in that game in particular, what was a foul one way was most certainly not called on the other end of the court.
Blasting Selby or Reed or Morningstar seems in vogue, but give the PAID knuckleheads their just desserts. The kids were shaken after VCU made every 3 and seemed to get all the 50/50 calls. We got closer, but then two phantom calls had us back to where we didn't know if there was time left. I watched the game a day later and without any doubt there was missed calls just as bad as any KU player's bad play. For instance 8 minutes in, watch Burgess make a 3 and jaw off at Self who was 1 foot behind him. Technical Foul. Nope, not called. 3 minutes before half, Taylor guards point at midcourt and the ref actually hand signals to 5 seconds. Not called.

Nationally people want the top team to lose, and when KU does win by 11 or whatever, they just move on. KU only has devastating losses because we win 69 home games in a row and other stats so befuddling that we try to understand how it is that KU can ever lose a game. It hurt to watch, but with only so many possessions per game, eventually the dice will show up snake eyes.

Matt Kenton 9 years, 2 months ago

I am definitely not one to blame the refs, but seriously do think a lot of the fouls called on us left players, like Brady when he got those two called back-to-back, wondering what they are supposed to do, not play defense? And when Self stresses "concentrate on defense and your shots will fall" it might kill the players confidence when shooting. The refs won't let me play defense the way I want to, so I guess I'll try to score instead. It also might get in their head 'another phantom foul call and I'm on the bench, so I better score while I have the chance.'

Tyson Ailshie 9 years, 2 months ago

drbloom, I think you are dead on. I was complaining more about the officiating in this game than I can remember. And calling them "phantom" calls is absolutely accurate. There were just too many to count. When we lose games due to just poor play, ie; Texas and K-State, I'm willing to accept it. But when something seems rotten with the officiating and it directly affects the outcome of the game, I will call foul. NCAA basketball officiating just seems to be getting more and more suspect. I just want it to be called fair and am not really about, "oh, the calls will balance out". NO! That's absolutely absurd! make the call when it happens. And blatantly swallowing your whistle on a mugging in the post on Marcus Morris late in the game was atrocious. BTW, I didn't even know about the Burgess thing, which should've warranted a technical. I think the NCAA really wants the "cinderella" teams to win out as much as possible. After all, it's good for business.

squawkhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Here's what the rest of the country thinks of us right now (from a headline in the Austin Statesman..."Hey Kansas, VCU later!". Ughhh!

cklarock 9 years, 2 months ago

Austin's just glad somebody finally beat us. After the tragic nose-dive to lose the Big 12, they could use a bit of schadenfreude.

kureignman 9 years, 2 months ago

Jesse, I anxiously awaited your Statistical analysis after every game (including the 2 losses) except for this one. I was secretly hoping that maybe you were not going to post it after the VCU loss. Anyway, just wanted to thank you for your recaps throughout the season. Men lie, women lie, numbers don't.

John Randall 9 years, 2 months ago

Really, I think Will Rogers had it right 80 years ago:

There's liars, then there's damned liars, and then there's statisticians.

dochambers 9 years, 1 month ago

Dear KU62: Will may have never met a man he didn't like, but the quotation you paraphrase was popularized by Mark Twain...who attributed it to Benjamin Disraeli.

Jacobpaul81 9 years, 2 months ago

Numbers can lie too. Numbers typically have not reflected Tyshawn Taylor's level of play all season. This was one of the few occasions where they did. I don't trust numbers anymore than I trust my own eyes. I want to see the whole picture. What I see and what it is on a paper and make my evaluation based on that.

bradyboy 9 years, 2 months ago

Ku and Memphis is in earn classic. Currently 1124 in the second half.

Taylor Witt 9 years, 2 months ago

Here's hoping Selby either goes pro or plays like a pro next year. Just unbelievable numbers from a kid so highly recruited. Self is 0-2 on "can't miss" prospects when you include Xavier, and I think he should maybe try to stay away from Coach Cal Kids like them.

KU flat choked, there's no question, and they're one of three programs in the country that will end this tournament completely devastated. Ohio State and Pitt are the other two. KU fans are spoiled because of the ridiculous regular season success that Self has had, and he does have 08 to show that he can win in the post season, but these crushing losses to mid-majors are just so much more horrible than if they had lost to, say, Louisville or Notre Dame or Purdue. Those teams have talent, they've played in big games, they wouldn't shock the world if they beat KU. But Bradley, Bucknell, Northern Iowa, and VCU will be Self's legacy, which is incredibly sad but not completely undeserved.

squawkhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

So is Self the coach that everyone thinks he is or has he simply been the benefactor of KU's history and reputation? You decide.

DCSven 9 years, 2 months ago

Squawk -- THAT'S the most ludicrous thing I've heard. Ever. On any message board. Or Twitter. Or any place else the nattering nabobs of negativism and arm chair coaches gather to bash and bemoan. "History and reputation" would go 0-25 every season. It's recruiting and coaching that wins. I've resisted coming on this site since the loss and couldn't even look at Twitter during the game -- WHY? -- Not because of the coach and players, but because of the "history and reputation" of Kansas fans -- some of the most NEGATIVE, angry, entitled and boorish people to ever assemble. I've seen many post-season games, and followed the 'hawks east and west when they came close to where I was living -- I'm usually embarrassed by the fans, not the team. Games are played, teams lose, but because our coach delivers only a handful of losses each year, each one is dissected and overblown by an overwrought, arrogant fan base that actually pretends to be supportive, but only seeks to have their egos fed through the actual effort of college kids. Get a grip, or a life. Jesse -- the stats are awesome and the fact that Self can usually spout the most arcane stats in his immediate post-game pressers means he's clued in. He's already asking the right questions. How many coaches have been in longer and still not won a championship? Where does one factor in the PRESSURE that the WHINE and cheese fan base, and the armies of virtual online coaches, put on a program to always win -- how does that impact how tight Self is, and thus how tight his players play? Self is an enormously driven and successful coach in a historic program -- but history is BS on the court -- and while fans should be proud of it -- it's time we all shift our mindset and brand just a bit -- let's focus on the here and now and stop thinking that we're entitled to ANYTHING because of who we are. That helps with recruiting, but frankly, after seeing how fans react, one has to wonder how many recruits reading these pages will opt for other programs. Parity is here, it has been for while. But in the rarefied pages of the history books, Kansas fans seem stuck in the past, as opposed to recognizing this stat: p-a-r-i-t-y. Big isn't better, old isn't better -- hang it up -- the reason the nation cheers against us isn't our coach or players, its our arrogant fan base. Thank you HCBS and one of the greatest teams in history, that has lived into our school's fine reputation well. Too bad our fans can't live up to the standards the school or the program set. Glad I'm not in Kansas Anymore.

Jacobpaul81 9 years, 2 months ago

What is so surprising? He's a freshman. It should be expected.

KU's had many great players who struggled in their first season. Few come to Kansas and start or put in significant minutes. Freshman are rarely ready to take the court on day one.. or even by the end of year one.

benshawks08 9 years, 2 months ago

Wow those Selby stats are crazy! I just commented on another story about how in my head I thought Selby should have gotten more time to see if he could get hot but completely changed my mind when I saw the box score of 15 minutes 1-5 and 0-3 from 3. Pretty clear that Self gave him the opportunity and he just didn't rise to the occasion.

The real question is with our supposedly deep bench why was Selby the only bench player to get more than 10 minutes? Thomas kept himself out with fouls, but EJ and Mario only got 6 minutes and Releford was credited with none (I thought I saw him in there). For a team with "a lot of best players" Self sure didn't think so on Sunday.

Are there any stats to back up the theory that Self shortens his bench more in those elite eight games or other early losses? It sure seems like he does. The one that sticks out to me is either Bucknell or Bradley (i get them confused now) when it seemed like Self left Roy's seniors out there to win it on their own.

tydon27 9 years, 2 months ago

Mario was a liability this game. Jacked up shots and doesn't play any defense. EJ basically played like he did before TT got suspended and didn't contribute anything offensively the past 6 games or so. The refs killed our energy man off the bench with the 2 ticky tack fouls, and then a 3 one later in the half. Self put Selby out there with this group and put the pressure on him to bring the offense when he hadn't done that all year.

d_prowess 9 years, 2 months ago

This may be one of Jesse's best blogs ever. So informative it is scary!

justinryman 9 years, 2 months ago

Jesse, I wrote a very heart felt Thank you to the team in the blog section of this web site, and it is not apologetic, it's just a Thank you for a season that was still a very good if not great season.

I do agree, the loss to VCU was a bad one, just like it would have been to Richmond as well. It's hard to overcome such a substantial deficit, the 18 at half. But they tried, even with the horrible shooting they still made a run at the Rams until they physically and emotionally ran out of gas, that's what happens when you put that much effort into coming back. Just ask the '08 UNC team.

It has to be said that losing in the Elite 8 doesn't settle well and you head the nail on the head about Coach Self being his own worst enemy. He won his seventh straight Big 12 Conference title, and do we as KU fans want to give that up to Missouri or Texas or K-State? No, this is our conference. Especially winning it this year when one Dick Vitale picked KU 5th in the preseason.

I hate when any season ends on a loss, but really only 3 teams get to finish theirs on a win. Champions of The NCAA, NIT and CBI Tournaments, and let's face it, the NIT and CBI are not worth ending your season with a win, when you are Kansas.

I really hope when the lemons leave everyones taste buds they will be able to look back at this team and see how much they accomplished and overcame.

J.F.L. (Jayhawk For Life)

William Weissbeck 9 years, 2 months ago

I have a slightly different take. I watched Self closely during the Illinois game. He never smiled. He's not enjoying this. In fact many of the elite coaches don't appear to enjoy this. I don't think Roy ever enjoyed this. It's hard to tell with Coach K - I think he's more the John Wooden type - you have a game plan and you've prepared - all you can do is sit back and execute. Maybe he needs a better bench coach, or maybe he needs a player with a calming influence on the rest of the team. I do wonder why he didn't employ Releford and Johnson far more in the VCU game or go to a zone just to put the team in a different frame of mind (to focus less on chasing and more on keeping someone in front of you). Speaking of Selby - it was the same for Xavier Henry last year. The reason you have a top 5 recruit is just for these situations - your offense stinks and somebody has to want the ball. Henry did none of that in the NIU game, either.

Tyson Ailshie 9 years, 2 months ago

In my opinion, this team just didn't have the leadership Self needed to be ultimately effective. When we won it all in 2008, there was so much leadership. Starting lineup and bench. That goes a long way. And I seem to remember Self being a bit nervous in that Davidson game, but relatively relaxed otherwise (like Carolina). I chalk that up to player leadership. Which we did not have this year. Sure, Brady and Tyrel were seniors, but led more by example than motivation.

justinryman 9 years, 2 months ago


Jesse I am not aiming my last post at you, well not all of it, just the beginning. I just feel this team over achieved and people are to quick to jump to conclusions of disappointment. Even though this team wasn't supposed to succeed, it did and well when you don't win it all you end with disappointment.

FreddyinLA 9 years, 2 months ago

The time for Self reflection and evaluation was after last year UNI meltdown. I believe his comments after that blunder was he wasn’t going to look at the game film. Exact opposite of what should have happened.

You can’t win the weekend game of the only tourney that matters when you have ruined the confidence of the reserves and reduced their roles to glorified spectators.

30+ minutes for the five starters in the weekend game equals dead legs and abysmal 3 point and free throw percentages.

Selby was completely mishandled this year. This is why he will not be back next year.

justinryman 9 years, 2 months ago


By the way a very good statistical break down and a great look into the game itself Jesse. It seems like you go above and beyond with some of your looks into games. You are either really analytical or have a crack research department, I will go with option 1.

Thanks for doing such a great job of keeping people like myself and many others so well informed about the Jayhawks. Keep up the good work, I appreciate it all the way up here in Nebraska.


ncoles 9 years, 2 months ago

Fascinating analysis. I remember reading somewhere that there was a correlation between KU's tournament losses and the scouting reports completed by specific assistant coaches. Is there any truth to that? Just curious.

history_coach 9 years, 2 months ago

I appreciate stats as much as the next guy, but seriously....the media is out of control on Bill Self and the Elite 8 "failure." How many schools would kill to have 4 Elite 8's in 8 years (and 3 out of last 5 with 1 national title)? By the way, his Elite 8 at Tulsa was a HUGE success, not failure and his 1st Elite 8 at KU were success too. Nobody expected that type of run as a 1st year coach at KU without his type of guys. If I was Self, I'd be tight too...the media won't get off of his back.

Would KU "fans" rather we were Mizzou or K-State? Middle of the conference pack and happy to get in the tournament?

Don't be spoiled KU fans. Enjoy the 35 wins, 7th straight conference title, and conference tourney. If those don't matter to you, then I guess we should just have 5 months of practice and 1 national title tournament.

mispay4ku 9 years, 2 months ago

+1 Although this year looked to be ours, well...once the tournament started because I can't say that I thought so all season long, it ended up not to be. We're not going to win every single Championship but the successes have been great at KU. And history_coach is all matters and we had many amazing moments this season that I am proud of. Sure we should have won against VCU, that's a given but I also think there were many other fallen teams who "should have" beat their opponents, too. It sucks when it happens but I don't for one second think that I hurt more than coach Self and the guys do. None of them wanted to disappoint the fans that they so often thank. I just think it's our job to be supportive and appreciative of the great program that we have. And let the haters say their "choke" can only choke when you are expected to win and we're ALWAYS expected to win. The higher you climb the harder you fall.

drbloom 9 years, 2 months ago

+1 Exactly! KU only has devastating losses because they happen about as often as Oklahoma loses a football game. Would you trade being a KU fan for a Kentucky fan and a coach who has made the Final Four two other times to have both appearances "washed away" because he cheats? Hell no!

Self is a great coach, he made a decent team amazing this year, and he will again next year. And you will enjoy 30-some wins and then bemoan him once we lose to end the season. We'll never miss the tournament, and probably never lose the Big12 while he coaches in Lawrence, and somehow that's not good enough.... Tell me how good you all are at your job????

gerald_bostock 9 years, 2 months ago

great article and research, jesse. somehow, make sure Bill and the other coaches read this

Scott Smetana 9 years, 2 months ago

Great article Jesse. My thoughts from being at the game and reading these posts...keeping in mind that I think Bill Self and KU are awesome.

I do think there's a part in saying "bad luck" or "one of those days", especially when I think stepping on the baseline twice and our shooting in the first half.

KU looked tired, and I think it's due to our relentless defense and rebounding in the second half. I hope our team didn't stay up too late the nights before. I also think we may have over-guarding their drives. One of the biggest shots of the second half came as a VCU guard easily drove on TT who then kicked it out for a wide open huge shot at the top of the key. Although it's painful to play our bench over starters in huge games, I think this shows that it's a must.

I thought we had it won after the VCU technical... wasn't the 'neutral site' KU crowd awesome?! Marcus getting called for a block instead of getting the charge killed a run. Reed also got hammered in the corner on a press leading to a turnover and score. It also killed us to miss 2-3 dunks by getting stuffed late in the game. I never saw the replays and don't want to.

I just hope the twins know there's no FOE in the NBA. One more year!

HawkBBall 9 years, 2 months ago

Great analysis, Jesse. To me, the team looked either tired or confused. I didn't think they were tight until the the shots were not falling. I began to think they were exhausted, and wondered what the team did between Friday night and Sunday. I thought the same fatigue that cost us the Texas game in Lawrence was haunting us again. If it was not exhaustion, then it had to be a lack of mental preparation.

I, too, did not understand the rotation, or the lack thereof. I wondered why Josh and not EJ or Travis. I saw a lot of complaining to the referees from Coach Self, much of which was justified. I saw him barking at the players.

To suceed in this single-elimination tournament, you have to be prepared mentally. Whatever the reason for this loss, it falls squarely on the coach.

dylans 9 years, 2 months ago

I didn't see fatigue in the Jayhawks, but I did see the VCU players sucking air at times. The Hawks didn't guard, didn't hit shots, and didn't listen to the scouting report according to the players themselves. They looked shell shocked in the first half and dug too deep a hole.

Dale Koch 9 years, 2 months ago

the Hawks were drained, and I don't know why you didn't see that. Tugging at their shorts midway through the first half was a telling sign. Not sure why they were so drained as they weren't guarding hard enough to be so physically tired.

KUbsee69 9 years, 2 months ago

Nobody could understand the pressure the coaches and players feel at a top tier school. The annual expectations at KU are far beyond those at all but a couple of schools. The pressure during the NCAA tournament is surely magnified by the consequences factor.

During the season, a loss is just one loss out of thirty or so games. You just mark it down, and go on from there. But in the tournament, one loss and you're gone. So, of course, the coach's and player's demeanor is bound to be different. When did you ever see the players come to tears over a regular season game?

The coaches & players at a school like VCU are not held to the standards and expectations of KU. They have nothing to lose. Therefore, they don't feel the same pressures. You can't really dull a mat finish.

So, yeah, we're all disappointed. But, lets stop the overanalysis and the blame game. The grief in any of us can not compare to that felt by the players & coaches.

Evan Ridenour 9 years, 2 months ago


Only an absolutely pathetic fan base would whine and complain about the ability of a coach who has accomplished what Self has at Kansas.

Guess what. KU was great this year, but even great teams lose. That is why the overall number one seed almost never wins the tournament. That is why a team hasn't won the title while going undefeated for decades. Teams have an off day, and they lose.

Self has managed to win at least a share of 7 straight conference titles and 4 out of the 5 last conference tournament titles. He has also overseen 3 Elite Eight runs (and 1 national championship) in five years and been the coach for almost the entire time span (10 years) while KU amassed the most NCAA tournament victories of any school. Before this guy even came to our school he managed to bring a crappy mid-major program and a crappy major to the Elite Eight. He is the only active coach that, I know of, that has brought three different programs to an Elite Eight (that hasn't had those victories revoked for NCAA violations).

Basically. This guy has accomplished amazing things both before and after he came here. He has proved he knows how to coach as good or better than the best coaches in America... and yet you guys are doing nothing but whining incessantly about his coaching ability.

What a bunch of poor, pathetic fans you guys are. And what a lame hometown newspaper for support such inappropriate negativity with a constant stream of negative articles. Try celebrating what this team did accomplish instead of focusing on one sad, disappointing moment.

Mo Golany 9 years, 2 months ago

Jesse I have to tell you this article mad me cry like a baby! To think of all the tough teams we could have lost to but to lose to a team we crush on the regular hurts so much. We had a spot on the final four on the line and we blew it. We blew it and it pains me to say we had a great chance for another national title and we blew it and I'm crying and this article hammered it home. It was a great season!

kusayzone 9 years, 2 months ago

I hope this article represents the last nail in the coffin. Sometimes we forget the human part of the game, and in our society, something has to be the blame for the bad that routinely happens. 35-3. That is enough for anyone to say that KU has a fantastic season. The best and most talented team doesnt always win the tourney. My money is that KU will be back next year in full blaze of glory, and VCU-well I would figure their return, especially if they lose their coach... How many days until Late Night? I cant wait!

Mike Kendall 9 years, 2 months ago

+1, kusayzone. They had a great season record-wise. The Jayhawks keep knocking on that Final 4 door. Didn't quite make it this year. However, we will be back.

ruddin583 9 years, 2 months ago

Heres what bothered me about our postseason/this article/the upset:

  1. Since when have we had a team that has players (mainly Twins) who start fights, throw cheap shots and talk trash before and during each game...worse is that Bill doesn't seem to be bothered by it. Wish he would recruit classier kids like Reed who shut their mouths and play hard. Does anyone else think the fact the Twins couldn't get a call and Skeen got every tic tac foul called had anything to do with Kieff talking trash in front of the ref before the game?? Think that affected the refs psyche a little bit? maybe got VCU even more pumped up?
  2. Taylor's frosh mistakes-jumping into defenders with his leg extended is asking for refs to call a charge, air balling wide open threes, and going under the screen that let Rodriguez hit the dagger. This kid will never be a leader and won't improve/mature next year. He has a mental lapse every 3 possessions.
  3. Why is Selby getting minutes over Releford???? HCBS biggest mistake this year.
  4. Anyone notice Eli's and Taylors favorite time to reach in/foul is with under 10 sec left on the shot clock?

So the stats don't lie, we missed fts and threes, but its these "little things" that absolutely destroy us away from home court

drbloom 9 years, 2 months ago

I do agree that Releford is the part of the puzzle that most puzzled me. Doesn't seem to be a bad apple, plays hard, plays well, and yet never makes it on the court. That part I agree with you fully. The kids do get mouthy sometimes, but with the officiating that went on that game, the refs were lucky they didn't leave the Alamodome like Davy Crocket!! The kids were shaken, but the only T was the other team's coach because apparantly ANY call against them was horrendous. It was a turd game to watch because it wasn't impartial. When KU had chances they blew them. The team who shoulda won, did win, but it wasn't a game I'd want to watch if I was a fan of any other school. The game before Brady got a technical. I know for a fact that teams who are outskilled (think OSU in Big12 tourney) will cheat and hack knowing full well that only some of the fouls will be called. If every other slap or grab is one more chance to get a turnover, the lesser teams (not VCU) will often resort to that. So what happens is the Morris twins have had to put up with a season of poking and grabbing, and when they act fired up we fault them. When they play calm and cool and lose we blame them for not caring. Get your story straight LJWorld and leave the kids alone and for once publish a story about the people who make the game no fun to watch, wear pinstripes, and get paid.

Viggo3003 9 years, 2 months ago

These numbers are very enlightening and there is certainly nothing wrong with the article. The Kansas coaches break down the numbers and grade the players in a similar fashion. Self is a great coach and I'm sure he takes a hard look at what he can do to consistently improve as all winners do.

I do think there might be something to the theory of Self's coaching demeanor in games like this so hopefully Self will make a few tweaks and go from great to greater.

Anyways Rock Chalk and I hope recruiting goes well and thanks to the players and coaches for a memorable year.

AsadZ 9 years, 2 months ago


On your point on Selby i would agree that this is one area where Self's decision backfired this year. It was obvious that Selby is not having a good year and yet Self put his trust and kept believing that Selby will come out of the funk.

The other theory could be that Self purposely kept playing Selby for recruiting benefit. He wanted to give a message to top recruits that if you come to KU you would get playing time. Perhaps he did not want to keep losing recruits to Calaparis of the world.

What do you think?

beaujvanbeek 9 years, 2 months ago

Jesse, I agree with you regarding Bill Self's demonstrative actions during the tournament as opposed to the regular season. He has a short leash with bench players and is constantly on the refs. I think he is pressing too much. I really think the first loss to Bucknell was a fluke (and Bradley was just better than us). After those two losses, this mid-major "thing" got in his head, and he has been pressing ever since. He is trying too hard. We forget that he is human. As impossible as it sounds, he really needs to erase those losses from his memory. He is so afraid of losing to mid-majors that he is coaching on the defensive in a manner not to lose.
He overachieved in the tournament in 2009 when he himself said he was playing with a "hall pass." If you notice, he was much more calm that year during the tournament.
The bottom line is that he is pressing, and his team sees him overreacting. Therefore, now the team panics, presses, and overreacts.
Lastly, there is no doubt in my mind that they were tight. Some of the misses that KU shot were woefully off (Tyshawn's three pointer). When you get tight you don't follow through with shots, and it really showed in the free throws and three pointers.
I am convinced that if KU ever wins a title again with Bill Self, it will be a time when they are not favored to win it all. They play great playing the underdog role, as most teams do.

Sparko 9 years, 2 months ago

The real culprit is that Self does not game plan well or prepare on one day's rest. All of Kansas' woes are in the second game of a weekend series. I think he tries to over-compensate for the lack of practice time somehow. Anyway, forget where VCU was seeded. They were also the best team Kansas played this year Sunday. Much deeper, much better shooters, much better defenders than KENPOM ever suggested. The question of the month is why?

Roger Tobias 9 years, 2 months ago

"The real culprit is that Self does not game plan well or prepare on one day's rest."

How many Big Monday games did we lose this year?

Sparko 9 years, 2 months ago

One. Against the only decent opponent we faced on the road. . .

drbloom 9 years, 2 months ago

um, no, they aren't that good. When ANYONE makes 50% or more 3 pointers, they look like NBA prospects. The make after make, shook our guys. The blown calls by refs, shook the guys, and the big stage shook the guys. Hey, they didn't have time to come back from a big defecit. But to think you will see ANY VCU players named on draft day is a joke beyond reason.

Sparko 9 years, 2 months ago

VCU has played very well and has hit almost 60 3s against eleite competition. They have been getting to the line and hitting their FTs, and have played shut down defense. I saw them live; they are much better than acknowledged or advertised. They weren't earlier in the season for undetermined reasons. I think there is more to the story than we will ever know.

jhawk79 9 years, 2 months ago

To TT. Please leave. 1. You couldnt guard my gma from the 3 2. HC BS will stop thinking your a point guard 3. Spain will be better then the NBA for you Good luck

Dale Koch 9 years, 2 months ago

Geez jhawk79, didn't you read the Jesse's article? TT was the MOJ and deservedly so. If not for TT we don't even get past Boston U. Don't listen to him TT. Keep your head up.

benshawks08 9 years, 2 months ago

Agreed. Taylor and Marcus were the only KU players that kept that game even close. Both of them battled and showed real heart in the comeback attempt.

drbloom 9 years, 2 months ago

Tyshaun is a good guy. Met him outside of basketball season. He plays basketball as well as he can. He also plays on both sides of the ball. The stats above don't say a damn thing about defense. What a waste of stats. Tyshaun distributed the ball, he played defense, he also probably doesn't give a blank about your opinion. Tell me how good are you at your job? Pretty judgmental about a non-professional athlete aren't you?

AsadZ 9 years, 2 months ago

With this comment you made it clear that you know very little about BB. TT is the best KU's defender and apart from a couple of games played very good D consistently. He has it all what it takes to be and have a long career in the NBA.

Darrel Stice 9 years, 2 months ago

Why should we listen to a guy who can't use an apostrophe ("couldn't" and "you're") and doesn't know the difference between "then" and "than"?

To quote Ross Gellar from "Friends", "Y-O-U apostrophe R-E means 'you are', Y-O-U-R means 'YOUR'!

Go back to middle school.

benshawks08 9 years, 2 months ago

Anyone else notice that VCU (12 pts/game) is second only to UConn (12.25 pts/game) in average margin of victory of the teams left in the final four? The only reason UConn is ahead is the 30 point blowout of Bucknell. VCU has been the team that has won the most games by double digits of any of the final four teams (FSU being the only single digit win). Talk about throwing out the stats. That is what I call an anomaly. Those kids are playing way over their heads and have been all tournament long. Got to give them credit for a great run.

FLJHK 9 years, 2 months ago

This is an outstanding article. Sometimes the truth hurts, but it still has to be confronted.

I don't think anyone is wanting the ouster of Coach Self. I think he is the perfect coach for Kansas and I want him as head coach for as long as he wants to coach. But as we have seen, and as is documented by these statistics, there are issues with the team's play in the tournament that must be acknowledged, confronted and learned from. I am quite confident that Coach Self will do so.

Finally, it was still a great season of KU hoops filled with many memorable moments. I want to especially thank Srs, Brady and Tyrell for their outstanding careers, and to Mario for his contributions. If any underclassmen choose to leave for their own good reasons, I wish them well.

P.S. Just a guess, but the combination of a sour season ending loss, labor strife in the NBA, and most of all recognition that next year is the last time they can be assured of playing together, I'm guessing the twins return. Selfishly I sure hope so, but I want them to do what is best for them.

JimmyJoeBob 9 years, 2 months ago

I think what it came down to was Ku has had poor freethrow shooting all year long and no real consistent point guard. Guard play is what wins championships in March. Tyshawn did play well after his suspension, credit Self for sitting him down. With no real floor general or consisten outside shooting we weren't a legit final four team.

I will take Bill Self getting us to the NCAA's each year and a National Championship every five or six years. There is no one out there you could replace him with. He is a smart guy.

To quote an old KU coach "We will keep knocking on the door til we knock it down." BTW that coach never won a National Championship in 15 years.

JimmyJoeBob 9 years, 2 months ago

Because number one it is they attitude I think Self has and I believe there are a lot of people out there wishing they had Ol Roy back. I just wanted to remind all those who have forgoten all the second round disappointments we had with Roy.

Roger Tobias 9 years, 2 months ago

I think part of our funk is the thought that the cupboard could REALLY be bare next year. Knowledge of that may have been responsible for part of the change in demeanor. I think TT's comment after the game is telling. Mook has nothing more to prove, and Kieff may follow thinking a trade could get them on the same team. Selby is not the real thing. Let's hope T-Rob stays like he said, but God help us for lacking any more significant presence in the paint.

Ron Franklin 9 years, 2 months ago


Here is something that I have been thinking about the last few days. I'd like to bounce it off some of you. I'm having a hard time articulating the thought...

I have noticed there is a difference in Bill Self's body language, tone, & delivery when he does these post game presentations and when he does other television appearances that may be out of his "comfort zone."

We see self handle these regular pressers with ease. Cameras on, or not on, it doesn't phase him. But during the Big XII Tournament, Coach got on the platform and was doing an interview with the two ESPN guys. I was taken a back by what I saw. In that moment, He was as nervous & uncomfortable as I have ever seen him in 8 years here at KU. I wondered at that time, how could a person like Bill Self, constantly in the media spotlight, be a nervous little school boy while doing this interview? He was shaking, uncomfortable, & could not even make eye contact with camera. His posture was bad, and completely out of his comfort zone. Horrible delivery.

Is this a peek inside of Coach Self? Is this an anxious, uncomfortable Self that we usually don't see? The Coach Self that only comes out when the brightest lights are on? Is this the Coach Self that comes out when he falls behind in the Tournament?

Coach wins game after game after game during the regular season when the stakes are lower & nobody is 'all in'. This is quite the opposite of the pattern developing in the post season.

I guess what I'm getting at is can Coach handle the heat? Can he handle pressure? Not regular season pressure, post season pressure. Lose and you go home for the year pressure?

Is he like BlownJay? Pacing the living room, back and forth knowing if they don't get their crap together it's time to go home, 4 minutes into the game? Or is he like BlownJay's brother who can patiently sit back, without rash emotions and let the game play out like he has 33 times before? I know I'm not very fun to watch the game with when they are behind, because my anxious behavior is not good for those around me.

Is this Bill Self's behavior? Not anxious for the local media & cameras, but Anxious on the national camera? Not nervous during the regular season, because there is always 'next', but Anxious under the big lights of the NCAA tournament? So anxious that his bad energy wears his players down?

This is a question, not my opinion

FLJHK 9 years, 2 months ago


It's perfectly reasonable and understandable that Coach Self may get anxious at tourney time. And the anxiety only mounts when we have games like this last one, in the context of his history. He's only human. The ultimate key will be his ability to transfer that nervous energy into a positive force. It can be done.

No one should underestimate Coach Self's intellect and competitiveness. I am very confident he will figure it out.

The NCAA tournament is a crapshoot. A team that shouldn't have even been in the tourney is now in the Final Four because they got hot at the right time. Congratulations to them.

Overall, it's still a very good season. But when you are, as I believe, the best team in the country and come away with anything less than a National Championship, there is certainly some disappointment, particularly because that situation just doesn't come along as often as some of us would like to believe.

Very difficult loss but I am very proud of the program under the guidance of Coach Self, and am confident of a very bright future.

HawksWin 9 years, 2 months ago

Jesse, Great analytics. Hopefully the coaching staff will find some useful pointers. Here's an article that also tries to explain the loss.

drbloom 9 years, 2 months ago

324 D1 schools. 35 different schools have ever won the NCAA tourney. In the timeframe 1988-2011 KU has 2 title wins. Duke and Florida also have 2, and UNC has 3. Assemble Stats however you like. Mix in a little 69 game home win streak. Add a dash of this: The Big 12 regular season basketball men's champion has been outright, or shared by KU 9 of the last 10 years.
KU won the Big 12 tourney 5 of the last 6 years.
Bake in the fact that Self won 33 games or more 4 of the last 5 years. Serve

KenPom, do you know that on the other side of the court, KU plays defense? I know you want a stat for everything that goes on, but you only reported on half the game in my opinion. Rush might have had a stinker of a game, but he SHUT DOWN people on the other side of the floor. This is college, not the NBA and someone ought to respect the 'D'!

BoulderHawk76 9 years, 2 months ago

To read some of these comments you'd think that Bill Self was responsible for our loss to Syracuse in 2003. Get a grip. We had a terrible day shooting and a bad first half defending. No one person on the team is responsible. Nor is Coach Self or the rest of our coaching staff. The playing field is much more balanced than 20 years ago. Yes, we missed a great chance to get into the next round. It hurts to see our players hurting, but 67 teams go home with their last game of the season a loss. Let's give T-Rob and the Morris twins and Selby a reason to return next year!

ILjhawk27 9 years, 2 months ago

As I've been surveying the boards the past few days and a few these comments (a la, "I love coach Self, but...blah, blah, blah) and someone said they don't think people want Coach's ouster, i have to reply "WHAT??!!". I'm shocked someone would say that. We just had a 35-3 season. Yeah, I hate that we lost. But we did, it's lousy, and life moves on. I will say it point-blank...Coach Self is the best chance we have to win titles (has 2008 been THAT long ago?) and represent this school with class and dignity. I hate that we didn't get the opportunity to go on. But to think we'll never be here again is the same "sky is falling" mentality we had before (after Roy left, after the Bucknell debacle)...Coach Self has done a phenomenal (PHENOMENAL!) job with this program. He will continue to do so. I hope, soon, we'll end this pointless navel-gazing and "Yes, but" stuff that I've been reading. Our team was amazing (not perfect, of course, but amazing), we had a crappy game and we'll be back...soon.

FLJHK 9 years, 2 months ago

I emphatically agree that Coach Self "is the best chance we have to win titles" and that he represents the school "with class and dignity." No question.

But it is wrong to put on blinders and ignore the data presented in this article. As the data indicate, this tourney performance was not an anomaly, there is a pattern. Acknowledge it, confront it, learn from it, and defeat it. Coach Self will do that.

tydon27 9 years, 2 months ago

To play a little devils advocate on Josh Selby being the Tough Luck Line I've got a few observations of my own. First off the (+,-) statistics don't look very good, but I don't put as much stock in them as some people. As Jesse points out when Selby checked into the game KU was only down 12-10 and when he checked out they were down 20-10. I want to point out that KU was down by 18 at one point so we were still outscored by 8 when he wasn't in the game. He was part of the group that did make a little run towards the end of the half as well. Here is where Josh's (+,-) gets blown out of proportion for me. When he gets in the second half and were down just 2 then when he checks out and were down 10. We turned the ball over 3 straight times.1) Markieff Morris falls out of bounds after a rebound. Next play VCU gets a dunk or a layup. 2) Tyrel turns in over in the corner and Marcus fouls on a 3 and three free throws,3). Missed shot or turnover and they get another dunk or layup. Hopefully some more people get down here to the bottom and let me know your thoughts.

Adam Evans 9 years, 2 months ago

despite how heartbreaking this season's end was, I just want to remind everyone of something. KU was picked, by almost everyone, to finish either 4th in some cases, and 5th in the BIGXII. To finish how we did, and have the season we have had, has and rightfully deserved, given Self several coach of the year awards in conference. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year. Yet we were in the Elite 8. No other team, I don't care who they are, can say that they make it to the elite 8 with ease during a rebuilding year. Headlining teams, like UNC, don't even make the tournament (granted that is rare) during rebuilding years. Yet we went in as the 2nd overall seed for a team picked 5th in it's conference. Hell of a year.

hawkfan4life 9 years, 2 months ago

WAY to tough on Josh, he had a bad game but he has been in a funk and Self knew it. If there is one criticism that I have of our coach it's that he sticks with his favorites to the detriment of the team. I understand that he likes a 8 deep rotation at tournament time but not going deeper into the bench KILLED us.

No mention of Tyrels stats at all, but no player out there shot worse than he did because he shot so many bricks in the second half and was too scared to even shoot it in the first. The numbers are skewed because they cant account for the number of shots attempted. Tyrel is a senior and so is Brady, the team goes the way of their leadership. Josh contributed to the loss no doubt, but no more than anybody else on the floor.

Marcus and Tyshawn came to play, Kieff finished with a double-double, but we did not play our A game and it should be considered a TEAM loss. Tough luck line to the team, not an injured freshman still in the injury funk who killed himself to do what his coach asked him to do.

Mike Kendall 9 years, 2 months ago


Sometimes, we Jayhawk Nation take you for granted. I certainly don't.

Thanks for all the hard work with your analysis and expertise! It makes the basketball season go by so smoothly. It is always a fun read with your take on things.

Again, thanks----it was nice meeting you in person at Norman----look forward to next season!

Chris Shaw 9 years, 2 months ago

Mikendal: Not sure why you changed your avatar, but this one has been taken.

Mike Kendall 9 years, 2 months ago

Sorry kushaw---honest mistake. I will get it changed before tomorrow. Again, my apologies.

Matt Kenton 9 years, 2 months ago

Excellent work Jesse!

One thing I don't think I've heard mentioned- how long are TV timeouts during the tourney compared to regular season? Are called timeouts any different? They seem to take forever watching on TV, and I've got to think this favors the underdogs, giving them more time to rest and prepare, plus keeping better teams from getting into the flow and continuing runs for more than four minutes.

This doesn't come close to explaining our problems and it affects other teams too, but I do think it is an important piece of the puzzle. If Self is being too uptight on the bench, longer timeouts give him more time to make the players that way.

tahlhyker 9 years, 2 months ago

I would love the idea of HCBS instructing his video team to film him during the games so that he and his coaches and advisors can compare wins vs lossess, tough games vs blowouts, and perhaps compare to other top tier coaches. Psychology, body language, poker tells, eye twitches, Who knows what he might learn. 100% support for BS, would not trade him for any coach in the country.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 2 months ago

Jesse, great piece and that is why I'm so frustrated at the moment with the loss. I wrote this other day. The perception may be that everything is okay because Bill Self is winning at an alarming rate, but i do think something needs to be changed. I took a different approach and this is my rebuttal to a poster on a different forum.

To some degree you are right.........Everybody does have "Upsets" in the NCAA tournament, but I would argue that KU has "More Upsets" on their resume when compared to that list below against the other bluebloods. I would also argue that KU has significantly more "Bad Losses" when compared to this list below. Sure, it's okay to list all this and say KU is on par with everybody else, but when you disect this information and go a little deeper it's a little frustrating.

Duke: 1 Elite 8 Exit, 7 Sweet 16 exits, 4 second round exits, 2 first round exits missed tournament in 1995

North Carolina: 5 Elite Exits, 4 Sweet 16 exits, 4 2nd round exits, 1 first round exit, missed 3 tournaments (2002,2003,2010)

Kentucky: 7 Elite 8 Exits, 4 Sweet 16 exits, 5 2nd round exits, 2 first round exits, 4 missed tournaments (1989,1990,1991,2009)

Kansas: 4 Elite 8 Exits, 6 Sweet 16 Exits, 7 2nd round exits, 2 first round exits, 1 missed tournament (1989, due to probation)

Since 1985:

Duke: Has had 4 losses to an 8 seed or lower and 2 of those games are technically "Pick Em" games based on the NCAA tourny. Since 1985 Duke has 11 Final 4's, been a #1 seed 5 times, #2 seed 5 times, and #3 seed 1 time during those 11 Final 4's Duke's average seed per loss is 4.5.

Bad Losses: Second Round-#3 Duke lost to #11 Boston College Second Round-#2 Duke lost to #10 Providence Second Round-#2 Duke lost to #7 West Virginia

Understandable Losses:

I don't really consider these "Upsets" or bad losses

First Round-#8 Duke lost to #9 Eastern Michigan First Round-#6 Duke lost to #11 VCU

All in all, 3 really bad losses since 1985 is pretty darn good. Considering how many Sweet 16's and Elite8's, and Final 4's Duke has made........they are the standard.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 2 months ago

UNC Has had 4 losses to an 8 seed or lower and only 1 of them would I consider understandable. UNC has 9 Final 4's, been a #1 seed 7 of those times, a 3 seed, and an 8 seed. UNC's aver seed per loss is 4.32.

Bad Losses:

Second Round-#1 seed UNC lost to #9 seed Boston College First Round-#3 seed UNC lost to #14 seed Weber State Second Round-#2 seed UNC lost to #7 seed Penn State

Understandable Losses-

Second Round-#6 seed UNC lost to #11 seed George Mason Elite 8-#2 seed UNC lost #8 seed Villanova

Kentucky: Has had 3 losses to an 8 seed or lower. They have been to 5 Final 4's since 1985 been a 1 seed 3 times, a 2 seed once, and currently a 4 seed. UK's average seed per loss is 4.

Bad Losses:

Second Round: #1 seed UK lost to #9 UAB Elite 8: #1 Kentucky lost to #11 LSU

Understandable losses:

First Round: #8 UK lost to #9 Ohio State

Kansas Has had 7 losses to an 8 seed or lower. Since 1985 KU has 7 Final 4's with 3 of those coming by #1 seed, 2 a #2 seed, 1 a #3 seed, and 1 a #6 seed. KU's average seed per loss is 5.

Bad Losses:

Second Round: #3 seed KU lost to #11 seed Auburn Second Round: #2 seed KU lost to #7 seed UCLA Second Round: #1 seed KU lost to #9 seed UTEP Second Round :#1 seed KU lost to #8 seed Rhode Island First Round: #4 seed KU lost to #13 seed Bucknell First Round: #3 seed KU lost to #14 seed Bradley Second Round: #1 seed KU lost to #9 seed UNI Elite 8: #1 seed KU lost to #11 seed VCU

I know one thing, it's very hard for me to look at this list and realistically and say that "Well, upsets just happen" and "That's the just the NCAA tournament". When comparing to other bluebloods with the list that was provided earlier in this thread and what I copied above it's easy for me to make my argument that KU has choked more so than than those other schools.

Sure, the argurment could be made on UK's behalf that they have been seeded lower over the last 25 years hence having the lowest average, but when they lose to a "Higher Seed" that isn't considered an upset nor isn't considered a "Bad Loss".

The opposite can be said for Kansas at the moment. I mean, KU has had 10 #1 seeds since 1985 and only made the Final 4 3 of those times, lost in the second round 3 times, lost in the Sweet 16 twice, and now the Elite 8 twice. Sure KU has been in the NCAA tournament more so than everybody else except Duke, but KU isn't capitalizing on their opportunities when they have high seeds. Plus, they more than double of the "Bad Losses" in the big dance than everybody else.

Sure, everybody get's "Upset" at some point in the NCAA tournament like you said Jayhawkjunkie, but KU is doing it more frequently and more consistently than everybody else since 1985 and more so over the last 15 years.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 2 months ago

I agree to an extent, but when Bill Self has 4 of those 8 "Bad Losses" that is the troublesome statistic.

I agree wholeheartedly with Jesse's post because it is the most well-thought out rebuttal I've seen. My post was just in response to a poster that was using both "Kansas" and "Self" as an example. I was looking at it more as a "Kansas" thing than a "Self" thing, but then again it's hard to argue those 4 "Bad Losses" that Self has had in 8 years at KU.

Also, I don't know why the site did this, but that short post in between my two long posts is suppose to be my last paragraph. It got thrown in the middle somehow and not sure how that happened.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 2 months ago

So Ralster, yes I do agree for the most part, but I was virtually speaking of the overall history of the NCAA touranment during the Modern era since 1985 from a "Kansas" perspective.

With that said, I do think there is an issue as Jesse has illustrated so well in this blog and if you look above at the number of "Bad Losses" that KU has had under Self, you can't deny that either.

No matter how much you have apologies from "Roy's Boys" 2005 team not being able to adapt you still have the inevitable and the perception that it's a "Bad Loss" regardless.

I give more slack to the 2006 squad simply because they were freshman and sophomores, but the National pundits won't cut anybody any slack so that's why it's important.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 2 months ago

In the end, I'm a Bill Self advocate, but something has to change with the mindset of his teams. So, I understand you want to chalk it up to the NCAA tournament being just that and needing a little "Luck" along the way, but there is definitely an argument here for Kansas having the perception of "Choking" in the NCAA tournament.

tydon27 9 years, 2 months ago

Josh's (+,-) numbers also become more inflated when self pit him in the game in the final minutes and they out score us by another 5 points or so.

I'd like to know morningstars (+,-) numbers because he is my tough luck player. Same shooting percentages as selby and even though he got 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals he also was playing witth the best offensive unit and played about about 32-36 min. To me with those minutes and those stats he didn't have any impact on the game, so if his +,- numbers are good to me it was a product of who he was playing with.

hawkfanobserver 9 years, 2 months ago

Wow!! Unbelievable.............what have you done for me lately??? Is that the message that we send out as fans for our school?

I guess that if all of the crybabies want to complain, I'm sure there are only about 100 other NCAA major basketballl programs out there that would like to have the record that Bill Self has established at KU. Better than Roy did in the time that he was at KU, what is the beef?

tydon27 9 years, 2 months ago

I agree with loving Bill Selfs overall system. You can't argue with the success of the program and the amount of wins it creates. We had a great year and hope for much of the same in the upcoming years. I do think that this years team never reached its maximum potential and I'm not just talking about the early exit.

We never got to see the best team on the court because selby couldn't get it going this year. Selby was behind the 8 ball because. Of the suspension which cut out the first 9 games as well as some practice time. When he did start playing we all saw flashes of what he could do (usc game) but he was inconsistient because of lack of reps. I think he was becoming more consistient right before he injured his foot and had to sit for three more games.

I think that when selby came back self scarificed the long term goal by not letting selby play through some of his mistakes towards the end of big XII play in favor of the regular season championship. (Just look at how harrison barnes developed during the season by roy letting him play. Selby probably played in half as many games and less than half as many minutes). This team had a great season but I think that we needed to develope selby more and then have someone like morningstar or reed fill the role that josh did this year.

rsportydog 9 years, 2 months ago

I have really enjoyed your posts this year, Jesse. And, in this last one, I was frankly surprised to read that perhaps Coach Self gets too jacked-up the deeper into the tournament we go. But, given coach's driven persona, it makes sense, and I'm sure that Self has enough integrity to seriously deal with that. I do believe that our team lost because they were emotionally unbalanced. I believe the players-especially the twins- took leadership of this team during Big 12 play after the Robinson tragedy, and they stopped really listening to their coaches. The game became secondary to FOE and I don't think the team ever fully recovered. The brittle chippiness of the post-season was a clear signal that Coach Self's advice and admonishments during the season were being ignored, and that's understandable when there's been no chance to properly grieve such deep, unexpected, and shocking losses. So let's give them time and opportunity to grieve now, and NOT merely for the loss of a basketball championship. This team and its coaches need our support and understanding.

lee3022 9 years, 2 months ago

Jessy I have appreciated your statistical perspective all year. The numbers do help illuminate the game after the fact. They do no do a good job of predicting what will occur in the future.

Like you, I have been reading for years. The analysis might be the best statistical analysis of college basketball widely available. However I did follow kenpom's predictive side this year in preparing my tournament bracket. Not only did KU fail to reach the Final Four but of the 62 possible games kenpom helped me selected only 34 correctly (slightly better than a coin flip on each game). The reality is that in a single elimination tournament anything can (and often does) happen in any game. The statistical probabilities are relatively neutralized in this situation.

What I dislike are your assumptions of conclusions based on a tiny sample size. Each year all or all but one of the best coaches lose another one. It is what makes this tournament attractive across the country. The odds are against VCU against Butler, just as they have been against them for the previous five games. Will they crap out here or win another roll? Statistics say they are done, just like the last 5 times. But statistics don't have a trophy case. Your conclusions of Bill Self's coaching are not based on sufficient evidence to sway me and in fact are opposed by too many big games in which his coaching has carried KU to victory. In the circles KU is moving any one loss is huge throughout the season. But this year there were only three losses. Three hundred and forty-two other coaches must wish for such a record.

REHawk 9 years, 2 months ago

God is great, Beer is good, This Tournament is crazy.

Michael Luby 9 years, 2 months ago

I didnt even touch this page or anything to do with KU Bball until now. Almost a week after the loss. I watched 10 minutes of the first half of that game and I Knew they were going to lose it. They looked tight and frustrated the entire game. As bad as Selby played, Reed played even worse. He kept jacking up 3's and none of them went in and he kept doing it. He lost that game for us just as much as Selby did. Im glad him and Brady are gone now. Maybe with Mclemore and Travis at the 3 spot we can actually have some guys who Make shots and play into Selfs system of lockdown defense.
Im glad our seniors are gone. Its also looking like The Morri are gonna bail on us too. Which is fine, if they wanna be cowards and run then more power to them. We will still have a great team without them next season.

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