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The Day After: Waived by the Wheat Shockers

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Kansas forward Perry Ellis is fouled on a dunk attempt  in the Jayhawks' 78-65 loss to Wichita State Sunday, March 22, 2015 at the CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis is fouled on a dunk attempt in the Jayhawks' 78-65 loss to Wichita State Sunday, March 22, 2015 at the CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb. by Mike Yoder

If you really think about it, Sunday's 78-65 loss to Wichita State was probably about as fitting of an end for this Kansas team as anything.

The problems that plagued the Jayhawks all year were the same ones that showed up against the Shockers — no mental edge, a lack of a leader, struggles scoring on offense and stopping the drive on defense.

I picked Kansas to win because the Jayhawks looked so sharp on Friday — and also because Wichita State labored a little to beat Indiana — but, if you've been following along here all year, the unceremonious ending to an up-and-down season was probably one you saw coming.

Wichita State's veterans outplayed the Jayhawks in just about every way and even the KU players said after the game in the locker room that they thought the Shockers wanted it more. That's a tough pill for any team to swallow and was the most obvious reason why the Jayhawks' season ended in the Round of 32 for the second year in a row.

Quick takeaway

As you've heard KU coach Bill Self say time and time again, the Jayhawks had a good season but fell short of making it a season to remember by falling flat in the NCAA Tournament. Since making that memorable run to the 2012 NCAA title game, the Jayhawks are just 4-3 in the past three NCAA Tournaments and have had more rough moments in those seven games than positive ones. Everyone knows that the tournament is a crap shoot and can be cruel to even the most talented and accomplished teams, but the Jayhawks lack of experience, leadership and a couple of badly time breaks — Perry Ellis' injury, Cliff Alexander's ineligibility, etc. — proved to be too much for that kind of roster to overcome and KU, though able to recall fond memories of Big 12 title No. 11 in a row, begins its inevitable countdown to Late Night in October.

Three reasons to smile

1 – You can't help but love the way Devonte' Graham finished his initial season at Kansas. Like Conner Frankamp a season ago, Graham played two of his better games of the season in the NCAA Tournament and was the Jayhawks' best player on Sunday. He was one of the few guys who showed a sense of urgency and competitiveness and his stats matched. He finished with 17 points, 5 steals, 3 assists and 1 turnover.

Kansas guard Devonté Graham (4) is fouled after getting a steal on Wichita State center Tom Wamukota (21) in the Jayhawks' third-round NCAA Tournament game against Wichita State Sunday, March 22, 2015 at the CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb.

Kansas guard Devonté Graham (4) is fouled after getting a steal on Wichita State center Tom Wamukota (21) in the Jayhawks' third-round NCAA Tournament game against Wichita State Sunday, March 22, 2015 at the CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb. by Mike Yoder

2 – For the first 15 minutes of the game, the Jayhawks had the Shockers right where they wanted them. KU was clicking on offense, controlled the glass on the defensive end and did what this team had become known to do — made the opponent play bad. But KU's offense began to struggle and KU's chance to take control disappeared.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) positions himself for a rebound against  Wichita State center Tom Wamukota, left and Ron Baker, left, in the first-half of the Jayhawks' third-round NCAA Tournament game against Wichita State Sunday, March 22, 2015.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) positions himself for a rebound against Wichita State center Tom Wamukota, left and Ron Baker, left, in the first-half of the Jayhawks' third-round NCAA Tournament game against Wichita State Sunday, March 22, 2015. by Mike Yoder

3 – Give Perry Ellis credit for playing through both the knee injury that gave him trouble the past few weeks and a nasty shot to the face midway through the first half that drew blood and briefly sent Ellis to the locker room. Ellis wasn't his normal spectacular self and former teammate Evan Wessel canceled out most of Ellis' advantage in the match-up with a fantastic game, but no one can question Ellis' toughness after a game like that. Even on a day when he didn't look his best, the KU junior led the team in scoring and added eight boards and 10 trips to the free throw line.

Three reasons to sigh

1 – Like Andrew Wiggins against Stanford a season ago, KU sophomore Wayne Selden did next to nothing on the stat sheet in the final game of the season. No points. One rebound. One foul. Two turnovers. And one steal in 23 minutes. Tough way to end a tough season. It's going to be very interesting to see where Selden takes his game from here.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) runs into Wichita State guard Ron Baker (31) in the Jayhawks third-round 78-65 loss NCAA Tournament game against Wichita State Sunday, March 22, 2015 at the CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) runs into Wichita State guard Ron Baker (31) in the Jayhawks third-round 78-65 loss NCAA Tournament game against Wichita State Sunday, March 22, 2015 at the CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb. by Richard Gwin

2 – Wichita State's 13-2 run to close the first half was clearly not the way KU had hoped to end the half, but it only put the Jayhawks behind by three points. Several Jayhawks said in the locker room after the game that they still believed they would win and were fine during the break. That certainly appeared to be the case when Frank Mason opened the second half with an easy layup that cut the WSU lead to one. From there, however, KU folded and folded quickly. As soon as the Shockers hit KU back and built a four, six and seven point lead, KU looked shell-shocked and never really got back into it. The same team that looked — and played — loose in an impressive opening-round victory all of a sudden tightened up again and that led to another early exit.

Kansas Assistant coach Jerrance Howard gives a rub to Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) after Mason fouled out in the Jayhawks' third-round NCAA Tournament game against Wichita State Sunday, March 22, 2015 at the CenturyLink Center, in Omaha, Neb.

Kansas Assistant coach Jerrance Howard gives a rub to Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) after Mason fouled out in the Jayhawks' third-round NCAA Tournament game against Wichita State Sunday, March 22, 2015 at the CenturyLink Center, in Omaha, Neb. by Richard Gwin

3 – I still don't understand why Hunter Mickelson didn't get more of a shot. Every time he played during the past couple of weeks, he delivered positive things. He's not a 20-plus minutes a game guy and he's not going to single-handedly win KU a game, but in a contest when the Shockers scored 49 second-half points and had no problem getting to the rim during that stint, it would've been interesting to see what Mickelson, an accomplished shot blocker, could have done to impact the game. That's especially true given KU's foul trouble.

One for the road

KU's season-ending loss to Wichita State:

• Dropped the Jayhawks to 27-9.

• Made Kansas 21-10 in second games played in the NCAA Tournament, including an 7-3 record in the round of 32 for head coach Bill Self.

• Snapped the Jayhawks’ win streak against the Shockers at five games, narrowing the advantage in the all-time series with Wichita State to 12-3.

• Made Kansas 97-43 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.

• Marked KU’s first NCAA Tournament loss in Omaha. Including games played in the 2008 and 2012 NCAA Tournaments, KU is now 5-1 in the city.

• Made Self 352-78 while at Kansas, 37-16 in the NCAA Tournament and 559-183 overall.

• Made KU 2,153-829 all-time.

Next up

For the second year in a row, the Jayhawks bow out of the tournament without advancing past the first weekend. KU finishes the season 27-9 and, as is the case just about every year no matter when the season ends, will head into the offseason wondering who will leave, who will be back and how Bill Self will reload.

By the Numbers: Wichita State knocks out Kansas

By the Numbers: Wichita State knocks out Kansas

Comments

Don Burgundy 6 years, 8 months ago

I'm disappointed that a Bill Self team just let an opponent manhandle them from a toughness standpoint. How can a player that you coach admit to the media the the opposing team just wanted it more? Really? In a damn tournament game where it is when or go home, the other team wanted it more? That really is unbelievable to fathom. That is completely on Coach Self. That frustrates me more than KU missing bunnies that we usually make like in the VCU game, or when a center who only attempted one 3 all season makes 5 of them ( the UNI game), or even when a guy goes down due to injury like last year. For a player to say that the other team wanted it more in a NCAA tournament game just baffles, frustrates, and makes me sick to my stomache. They deserved what they got from WSU and then some. IMO Matt shouldn't have even did a " 3 reasons to smile" segment He should have just had a " 3 reasons to sigh" and 3 reasons to sigh some damn more".

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 8 months ago

WSU wanting it more is not on Self, that is 100% on players. Bill Self does not control how the players report getting kicked in their metaphorical junk. That is where the lack of leadership on this team shows up the most. This team did not respond well to adversity all season long and folded again yesterday after getting kicked the junk.

Nathan Varvis 6 years, 8 months ago

Well said Aaron. I think it is easy to blame Self for the loss (and even he stated that he felt KU were underprepared which is coaches responsibility) but lets be honest, WSU had higher motivation to win. All that BS about KU not wanting to play them makes for an easy team talk. I would tend to place this loss on the team, as they exhibited a real lack of tenacity and toughness that has defined other KU teams in the past.

I am worried about this trend continuing, as there is such an emphasis on grabbing these all-star players. I would rather get some 4 star players that are going to stay and develop (and have a chip on their shoulder) than some 5 star All-world-next-best-thing-lottery-pick before he plays a game player. Lets get leaders and team players. Enough of the 1 and done

Don Burgundy 6 years, 8 months ago

Your point is valid, however you're missing the point about Self getting out coached by Greg Marshall. Don't you see the trend that Self's teams have. Little to no backbone, suspect to being upset by teams that have no business beating them and then the same old tired speech after the game.

Len Shaffer 6 years, 8 months ago

Don, I think you and Aaron both make good points, but I tend to side more with you because at least some of this has to fall on Self.

As great a coach as Self is, you really have to start to wonder if he just doesn't get it in the tournament. When a team loses five times as a top-4 seed in the Round of 32 over an 11-year period, that is becoming a serious pattern.

Why do we keep losing to lower seeds under Self? You can argue that in this case it was an even matchup, in that KU was overseeded and WSU was underseeded, but that still doesn't explain the continuing pattern of KU flaming out early. Let's face it, even in '08 KU played a horrible game against Davidson in the Elite 8 and was lucky to survive.

At some point I hope that Self takes a look at why this type of thing keeps happening and starts making some adjustments accordingly.

Robert Brown 6 years, 8 months ago

Thanks for the wrap up. The last four minutes of the first half was also something we have seen throughout this season which is that the team did not value possessions. I remember thinking at the 4 minute mark that KU has the lead and was in some foul trouble. There was only one time during the last 4 minutes when they tried to run the clock and that ended up in an ugly turnover. The other times, it looked like a couple of passed and bad shot cranked up. If the team valued the last 5 or 6 possession, KU would have had a lead at halftime. To Matt's point, it probably would not have made a difference, but for whatever reason, this team has not been able to play with a good lead. Perhaps that is due youthful immaturity that can be corrected for next year.

Jace FitzGibbon 6 years, 8 months ago

id have much rather seen mickelson and svi in there. While it might not have mattered, id have enjoyed watching guys who are actually hustling, trying, and act like they care out there instead of oubre, greene, selden.

Arthur Ankeney 6 years, 8 months ago

You can't really think Oubre isn't trying can you? I agree that I would have loved to see Michelson and Svi play, but I would give Svi Greene/Selden's minutes long before I would have given up Oubre's minutes. Oubre didn't play great, but he was definitely trying.

Peter Dinh 6 years, 8 months ago

I agree with Matt. I got no clue why Coach Self didn't put Hunter in while we had a height advantage we could of feed the post more instead of taking ridiculous jump shots

Joe Ingalls 6 years, 8 months ago

I guess winning the Big 12 season is some consolation to a discouraging season of disappointment and second guessing. I can't fault Self's loyalty to his players, but I can fault his players loyalty to the team. It's hard to understand why this season is so much different than any of the others, in the last thirty years. We have always questioned coach's decisions, when things didn't work out the way we wanted them to, but this season those question didn't revolve around winning or losing but how we played the game. We certainly don't know better than the coaches, but we do know how we feel. This season has chiseled away some of the blind fan loyalty, and has questioned the road to the final four less traveled. The anticipation of a new season, a new beginning is fraught with questions that may have no answer. Each season begets another, no matter the outcome of that season. Where do we go from here? Do we know that Svi and Hunter will return, when the writing on the wall is just graffiti. Other than those two and Devon can we depend on this year class to be anything but a disappointment. Can this years returning player do anything to change the way they have shown the way. Can we expect Bill Self to scrap some of his loyalty, start anew, and consider the way we feel.

Cedric Spire 6 years, 8 months ago

Svi and Mickelson should have been in there but Self burned that bridge during the year not playing them. Svi was easily as good a defender as Selden and much better with ball handling and basketball IQ just didn't get a chance. Mickelson had given great effort when given the chance and blocked some shots and made some putbacks and free throws. Couldn't have been worse than what other bigs gave us.

Why was Self putting Ellis at the top of key trying to isolate him. His advantage was on the block in this game with the smaller shockers. You isolate him when he has a bigger guy on him not a smaller quicker guy. The play that ended the first half was the beginning of the end when Self called this play. I think Ellis received the ball on the block 1 time which he scored on easily everything else was some type of faceup play. Pore coaching and preparation for this game.

What player said they wanted it more than us? That player would be gone if I ran the program because that is the type of attitude that spreads like cancer through the team.

Kristen Downing 6 years, 8 months ago

Again, agree with the Hunter Mickleson point.

Michael Sillman 6 years, 8 months ago

While I agree that Self can't be held responsible for some of the dumb and lethargic play, I agree with Matt that he should have looked farther down his bench for a spark. Michelson might have given the WSU guards something to think about when they drove the lane. Mikhaliuk might have brought some offense in place of Selden.

It just seems like Self is stuck in his concept of an 8 man rotation. He'll certainly have some extra time to some soul searching.

Layne Pierce 6 years, 8 months ago

Yes. Matt you're right. This comes as no surprise to those of us who watched this team, play a whole game only 3 or 4 times in a season. Who watched and waited for a team to emerge from a group of talented individuals, and we never did really see that team.

The good news is we have potentially all the starters back, and the bad news is ...

We were able to barely win the conference, an d if we don't improve a great deal next year, we are not going to win the conference, nor the conference tournament, and we will get a 5 or 6 seed, and no matter, because we won't win more than a game.

This team's performance against Wichita State was so bad and so pathetic that it virtually cemented a reality that I as a Jayhawk fan refused to accept, and that is that WSU for the last 3 years, and yes maybe next year is the best university team in Kansas.

They beat us. They have been to a final 4, and two sweet sixteens. Yes. I know, they play in a weak conference and play a weak schedule, but from the way we played you would think it was the other way around. For 7 months we are going to have to live with that reality. Thanks a lot.

I for one believe that a course correction is in order. Barring miraculous improvement, things have to change. The starting lineup has to change. Selden has to seriously up his game. He played 4 great games out of 36. I think Svi can do that, and I know that Svi is a better passer, a better ball handler, and he plays defense, and he has desire and a better basketball IQ. Selden can be our first man off the bench. He seems to play well in spurts, and thus it might suit him better. It would also take some pressure off of him.

Mikkelson has to play half the time along with Lucas in the post, even if Alexander does come back. Alexander should play a few minutes in the post, but also subin for Perry.

I would like to see a starting lineup of Mikkelson, Alexander, Perry, Svi and Mason, Selden, Graham and Lucas and Traylor and Bragg, coming in off the bench. No Alexander, then substitute, Lucas into the starting lineup. Big is better for us. It is who we are. Does it also pose problems? Of course, but there problems we know and understand.

No, I am not sold on Brannen Green. His passing, his ballhandling, his defense are not starter quality.

I would also like to see us recruit with a purpose, rather than simply going for the highest stars available. We did that with Frank and Devonte, and look how that turned out.

Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!!!

Marc Frey 6 years, 8 months ago

I agree...start to finish, I never felt comfortable with this team. I still rooted and hoped but something in the back of my mind told me that this year...don't get too excited about this team, when better teams have failed to get back the first weekend.

Kay Jensen 6 years, 8 months ago

Did you see some of the comments by van Fleet about Oubre? Their players knew that Oubre "took a nap" during WSUs game against Indiana. Why on earth would he do that, and moreover, why would he say it?? Just extra motivation for them, for a game that they really didn't need any. Oubre getting outhustled for that loose ball bothered me the most out of any play yesterday. Then van Fleet says that their guy beat out a lottery pick for that ball, and that Oubre should have "woken up" for that one. Makes me crazy, but I wholeheartedly agree. Unreal. Just enraging.

Lloyd Kinnison 6 years, 8 months ago

Come on folks. The better team won! In my opinion, the leadership of upper classmen was a difference. WSU BB team have been there before and had experience. KU, basically freshmen, did not have the experience. I cheered for the Hawks, but!!! Bill Self needs to have freshmen return, then the final 4 becomes reality.

Mike Crosbie 6 years, 8 months ago

I agree! I've been saying all year that signing one and dones hurts the team in the long run...we need STUDENT athletes who stay and eventually provide senior leadership!!! It will be nice if we get back to that and have real "senior days" again...its been a while since we had one!

Scott Burkhart 6 years, 8 months ago

I have to say that I have not been happy with Greene or Oubre all season. Greene runs around out there, sometimes, like he hasn't got the first clue. He completely fails to block out and if his shot isn't falling his body language stinks. Oubre seemed to have an attitude, all season, that he was gone after this season and this was just a layover to the bigs. Unfortunately, I don't see much change for next season.

Michael Maris 6 years, 8 months ago

Here's my take on a few items.

Wayne Selden & Brannen Greene really need to re-evaluate their commitment to the Jayhawk's program. Progression has not occurred from the 2013 / 2014 season to the 2014 / 2015 season. They need to mentally commit to the program with their maximum effort. Otherwise, they will find themselves riding the pine a lot more in the 2015 / 2016 season.

In his Kansas Coaching Career, has anyone notice that Coach Self's record against Missouri Valley Teams in the NCAA Tournament is now at 1-3? Interesting if you ask me.

Sure makes me appreciate the Mario Chalmers, Russell Robinson, Sherron Collins, Brandon Rush, Sasha Kaun, Darrell Arthur, Cole Aldrich and Darnell Jackson era a lot more.

ROCK CHALK.

Ten Yeahs 6 years, 8 months ago

College Basketball is usually a crazy roller coaster ride. Think of all the good college bball programs that have off years and miss the tourney... this year it was Syracuse. But here at KU we are pretty spoiled. How manystraight NCAA tourney appearances?? 26?! 11 straight conference championships has spoiled us, McDonald All Americans and multiple NBA lottery picks and a #1 or #2 tourney seed nearly every year make expectations crazy high every year and when we bow out the first weekend us fans are expectantly disappointed and super frustrated.

But let us be gratefull for what we do have. While he isn't perfect and not every decision he makes has been or is gonna be 100% spot-on....would you rather have anyone coaching KU than Bill Self?! We go from Larry Brown to Roy Williams to Bill Self....no other program has been that blessed....not Duke not UNC not UK...sure they have won more championships but winning the big one is, as we all know, pretty darn tough. KU will make it back to the FF and we will win more championships, it might take us a few more years but in KU, PHOG Allen, and Bill Self I trust. Rock Chalk

Brian Skelly 6 years, 8 months ago

To me this was the least "Self" team since he's been here. One and dones are certainly part of it. To me what's disconcerting is player development. Every year I do overtly simplistic "who on the roster exceeded expectations, whom was right at expectations, and whom was below". Of course its hardly scientific, but to me its a pretty good barometer of this teams success.

Who on this team exceeded expectations? Especially greatly? Mason maybe? None of the bigs did. Ellis was solid most of the time, but I think we've all seen his ceiling. To me, the biggest disappointment is Selden. Crikey. I mean he sucked often. Not just okay. He stunk. If he's not a bench player next year, our talent has done what we've need it to do.

Self should go back to recruiting top 150-200 guys -- who have a bit of a chip on their shoulders -- than these top flight guys who have little or no interest in being there. Oubre "sleeping" on the competition is example "A".

Good isnt good enough at KU. Nor should it be. We should expect more. It's justified to expect that.

Ten Yeahs 6 years, 8 months ago

please please can we schedule Wichita St during the regular season? I hate the feeling like we are dodging them. Anytime, anywhere, bring it on, thats the kind of motto I prefer

Gene Jackson 6 years, 8 months ago

OK - - what happened to football news? Time to move on! The last FOOTBALL posting on this website was Feb. 24th, or is my system have a bug? Here in Colorado, Spring practice concluded several weeks ago. Does Kansas football still have Spring practice? When is the inter squad game? Why no news of football?

Matt Tait 6 years, 8 months ago

Working on it as we speak. Spring football starts tomorrow and there really hasn't been anything going on around the program other than the guys preparing for Pro Day and the NFL Draft. There'll be plenty of football news in the next several weeks, so be sure to keep an eye out.

Ten Yeahs 6 years, 8 months ago

And I agree with you Tait about Hunter. After Cliff became ineligible and Hunter saw increased minutes and filled in admirably, I was hoping to see even more minutes from him the rest of the way. That Coach decided not to utilize him more is a bit disappointing.

Ten Yeahs 6 years, 8 months ago

Like has been mentioned already, we have a great potential nucleus on paper returning. Hopefully everyone returns and team chemistry/cohesion can result in a deeper run

Daniel Poull 6 years, 8 months ago

I liked reading your article, Matt. As some others have alluded to, Kansas has become too much of a victim of "one-and-done" rather than benefitting from it. I have this discussion all the time and many of my friends deny that our wunderkind disappear completely when Tourney time rolls around. My suspicion is that they are more worried about injuries heading into the draft rather than winning for a college team. Also, the more that KU refuses to play the Shockers, the bigger the game gets when they inadvertently meet in the Tourney. Heck, let's play the game every other year or every three years.

Joe Joseph 6 years, 8 months ago

I think it's more about not being able to handle the pressure. Pressure largely placed upon them by fans and big media outlets. They've never played on such a scale before and they know its one bad game and they're gone. They so desperately don't want to lose that they stop playing to win. The more times you experience that moment, I imagine the better equipped you are to handle it. Some younger players can deal with it just fine. Others cannot.

Cody Riedy 6 years, 8 months ago

Enough with the histrionic reaction and overblown conclusions. Let's go through some claims being made in reaction to two consecutive round of 32 losses.

  1. Recruiting OADs has ruined our program. False. It is true that none of our OADs have proven to be transcendent college players that carried a team on its back into a deep tournament run. However, this claim is generally wrong in several ways.

First, we haven't landed that many OADs. Self has only signed five players that were expected to OADs the day they signed with Kansas: Henry, Selby, Wiggins, and this year Alexander and Oubre. And I'm not sure these last two guys, at least Oubre, were seen as OAD locks. Embiid and Mclemore played their way to OAD status.

Second, Henry, Wiggins, Embiid, and Mclemore, though again, they weren't transcendent superstars, were the best or one of the best players on their respective teams. Selby struggled, Alexander and Oubre had their moments, but were off and on. So it's not likely they were complete busts.

Third, and perhaps most importantly. Recuriting OADs has not interfered with our ability to fill an entire roster full of multi-year players. Take this years team for example. There are two potential OADs, but also NINE other multi-year players who logged significant minutes all year or at least at certain points. People need to get the math through their mind. ONE 4-year player = 4 Consecutive OADs. We are not trading one to one 4 year guys for OADs. If you use a scholarship on a 4 year guy, that scholarship is used for 4 years. If you use a scholarship on an OAD, it gets recycled the next year. Hence in a 4 year period, you can either recruit ONE 4 year player or 4 OADs. Swinging for the fences with one scholarship a year seems like a pretty low risk high reward proposition. If Self started signing 2 or 3 OADs a year and they never produced, then this claim about the detriment of OADs might have some weight.

Cody Riedy 6 years, 8 months ago

Claim #2. Our team has lost in the first weekend two years in a row, therefore Self's coaching is outdated and since he lost first weekend games previously, he probably was never a good coach anyways. FALSE.

First, Self has been as good as anyone. No one is claiming Self is perfect, but I looked at the record of every elite program in Self's tenure at KU and over that period of time, though some teams have had higher peaks by virtue of two title wins versus our two title appearances but only one win, the only program I found that has been better than KU, including looking at tourney runs, is North Carolina, who has had a couple more deep runs than KU and fewer early losses. Coach K, who many put next to Wooden as the greatest coach of all time lost in the opening round in two of the past three seasons. Teams get upset in the tournament. Second, KU has been a 1 or 2 seed every single year except one that Self's been here, which means, KU will always get beat by a lower seed if they don't make it to the elite 8 or final 4 every year. That's a pretty tall task. Furthermore, if we accept that the Big XII has been a weaker conference than say the Big Ten or ACC, then its possible that KU has been over-seeded on several occasions because of their success in a weaker league. Which mean, some of their upset losses, might not have been as big as an "upset" as the seeding said. This year is a perfect example. KU was over seeded and WSU was under-seeded significantly. In my mind, though they were technically upsets, these last two tournament losses hardly qualify as "upsets". WSU had seniors and 4th year juniors on a team that has tons of tournament experience playing an inexperienced and (relative to previous KU teams) undertalented team. Last year, if Embiid doesn't get hurt, we likely would have made it to the Sweet 16 and suddenly the last three years, though not great, don't seem like such the downfall people are making it out to be. And of course, everyone can play what-if games, but what if Embiid doesn't get hurt and this years Mason was on last years team - all of a sudden a "failure" OAD team, might have very quickly been at least an elite 8 team. Even this year's team might have had a different outcome with Alexander (inconsistent as he was) played the whole year. Again, KU wins just one more game and goes to the sweet 16, suddenly the season doesn't seem like such a disaster.

In conclusion, we've had some misses with recruits including and perhaps more so with some multi-year guys. We've had some poor play in recent tournament games. Yes, Bill self is not a flawless coach. But, our program is not in shambles or in some irreversible decline. OADs are not ruining the program. And Bill Self is still among a handful of the best coaches in the country. As frustrating as this year's team has been, if we were to land one of the remaining elite bigs, we might be a contender as soon as next season.

Andy Tweedy 6 years, 8 months ago

I think what I hate most about the one and done is it has made us maddeningly impatient with those who stick around, even though we say we want them to stay longer. Wayne Selden is a SOPHOMORE!!! We can't expect them to be perfect. In fact, it used to be normal that a player took a few years to develop and we write them off if they aren't just killing it in their first or second year. Selden was terrible Sunday, but he had some really good games this year, and if he can just be more consistent we might find we have a really good player!

Benjamin Clay Jones 6 years, 8 months ago

Matt, you and every other Kansas fan under the sun is wondering that same question today: Why did Bill refuse to play Hunter Mickelson after Perry returned from injury? Bill has got to be the stubbornest SOB who ever paced a sideline. I've known Missouri mules who are more adaptable. And it's hurting the program.

Billy Smith 6 years, 8 months ago

Ku got beat by the better team. Sure Ku has the better individual players but the better team won. Self was handcuffed by lack of depth inside. Perry is soft, Traylor seems to make one bone head play for every good play he would make and Lucas was pretty limited offensively. I counted multiple times when he passed the ball back out after getting an offensive rebound. Just no aggression to go back up with the ball. They have to land a 7 footer. Selden has been a disappointment. He's a sophomore sure, but the guy has started every game since he's been here, 0 points is simply unacceptable for a shooting guard. That's not the Kansas I know. In a way I'm glad the season is over. Consistently inconsistent. They gotta get back to being a strong defensive team. What happened to the teams that were holding opposing teams to fg% in the low to mid 30's? It's tough to play through your guards when the offense is ran through the post. Guards win in March and Ku seems to miss on the playmakers because of their offensive style. Gotta get back to the defense and get a shot blocker. It should be interesting to see what the roster/rotation looks like next year.

Benjamin Clay Jones 6 years, 8 months ago

Billy Smith, regarding Lucas, you're right to an extent that he lacks aggression to go back up with the ball after coming down with an offensive rebound. However, such instincts come with increased experience and playing time. Self's blind spot as a coach is he doesn't develop his player throughout the season and let them play through the early miscues and weaknesses. Lucas languished on the bench for most of the year until Self was forced to play him because of injuries and ineligibility. Then he's handcuffed come tournament time. Once Lucas finally began seeing court time, he improved rapidly. How much better would he have been had he been getting minutes four the past four months? Same story with Mickelson. Self misuses talent and wastes potential.

Benjamin Clay Jones 6 years, 8 months ago

  • "Then he's handcuffed come tournament time." Referring to Self, not Lucas. Meaning, Self is left with limited options in crunch time because he hasn't developed his bench throughout the year. And when those limited options fail, as they seem to have done often over the course of his tenure, he has no recourse, because he doesn't trust his bench.

Cody Riedy 6 years, 8 months ago

Landen Lucas has been in college for 3 years now, Mickelson 4. The things those two players lack most is athleticism, which is developed off court. No matter how much playing time they get, Lucas will not have the athleticism of TRob and Mickelson won't have the extra couple inches of height that Withey or Aldrich had. Deal with it people: we have a roster full of players who just aren't as good as past players.

Benjamin Clay Jones 6 years, 8 months ago

Cody, you can't tell me that Hunter wouldn't have helped the team this year had he played.

Gregor Southard 6 years, 8 months ago

With everyone, or almost everyone, returning next year, we'll get to see what a veteran team looks like.

David Robinett 6 years, 8 months ago

I love coach Self but he is taking the exact opposite approach of coach Beaty and Bowen in that the best man did not get to play this year. Selden and Alexander were GIVEN their spots, even though they continued to stink it up. I think perhaps Coach Self doesn't want anybody negatively recruiting against him by saying his highly rated players don't even get to play.

I totally agree with Tait that Mickelson should have gotten more minutes especially in the WSU game. If anyone did the analysis I bet Mickelson's points and rebounds and blocks per minutes played are among the highest on the team. Despite his lack of so-called athleticism.

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