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Originally published March 9, 2010 at 12:00a.m., updated March 9, 2010 at 11:59a.m.

Chief concern: Self troubled by Jayhawks’ inconsistency this season

Kansas players Brady Morningstar, left, Markieff Morris, Sherron Collins, Xavier Henry and Cole Aldrich huddle during a break from an Oklahoma State run in the first half, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater.

Kansas players Brady Morningstar, left, Markieff Morris, Sherron Collins, Xavier Henry and Cole Aldrich huddle during a break from an Oklahoma State run in the first half, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater.

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Big dance experience a big deal

As the Jayhawks gear up for the NCAA tournament, the amount of experience the team has will be questioned. Apart from experience, the Jayhawks boast numbers very similar to those of the 2008 National Championship team.

Bill Self and his wife, Cindy, spent some quality time together in front of the TV over the weekend, not watching the Academy Awards, but re-runs of a special basketball team — the 2008 national champion Kansas Jayhawks.

“My wife said, ‘Bill, we seem to be more fluid and move the ball better,’” Self said of the 2008 Jayhawks, a dominant 37-3 squad that, after tying for the Big 12 regular-season title, claimed Big 12 tournament victories over Nebraska, Texas A&M; and Texas prior to winning NCAA Tourney contests over Portland State, UNLV, Villanova, Davidson, North Carolina and Memphis.

“She’s right. I was pretty confident with that team. I’m confident with this team, but there’s less margin for error without question than with that team,” added Self, whose 2009-10 league champion Jayhawks take a 29-2 record into this week’s Big 12 tourney at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

“I felt in ’08, going into the NCAA Tournament, if we played well, there was nobody that could beat us. With this team, I think we’ve been more inconsistent in the number of times that we’ve played very well. That’s obviously a concern. Hopefully we can get more confidence going into Kansas City and leaving Kansas City, believing that we made great improvement over the last couple weeks of the season.”

KU enters the conference tourney with a No. 1 seed in the 2010 Big Dance a certainty. KU, which moved back into the top spot in the polls Monday following victories over Kansas State and Missouri and Syracuse’s loss to Louisville, still could be tapped the top overall seed in the 65-team event if the Jayhawks win out in KC this week.

KU opens tourney play against either Colorado or Texas Tech at 11:30 a.m. Thursday. A win would push KU into the semifinals against either Nebraska, Texas A&M; or Missouri at 6 p.m. Friday. Finals are 5 p.m. Saturday.

“I want to be the seed that gives us the best chance to advance. Who knows what that is?” Self said. “Sometimes it is a disadvantage staying close to home (in NCAAs), because staying close to home offers more distractions sometimes than going away. I’m not saying that’s the case with us.”

It’s believed KU will open the NCAAs in Oklahoma City, and if KU is the overall No. 1 seed, would (provided KU wins two games) move on to the Midwest Regional semifinal in St. Louis.

Bill Self press conference - March 8, 2010

Bill Self addressed the media at a press conference on March 8, 2010.

“Once the tournament field is set, coaches forget where you are seeded. Now it’s, ‘Who are you playing?’ Certain teams will match up better than others will,” Self said.

Self joked about regaining the No. 1 slot in the rankings Monday.

“I am ecstatic. It may be one of the happiest days of my life,” he cracked. “No, I could care less. This is the point and time of the season where your play will determine where you are ranked. I said all along I just want to play like a team that deserves to be a No. 1-ranked team. We’ve been a 3 seed going into the tournament playing like a 6, 7 seed, and we’ve been a 4 seed playing as well as a No. 1. So much is matchups. We are not playing to be ranked No. 1 now. We’re playing to get the best seed possible to give us the best chance to play well in the (NCAA) Tournament.”

Milestone talk: KU’s next victory will be the 2,000th in school history.

“I haven’t thought about that. I do think for this particular game and the fact that we performed so poorly last year in the Big 12 tournament (first round loss to Baylor), hopefully those two things will be motivation for us to make a better Thursday than we had last year,” Self said.

“That is a great milestone. I haven’t had much to do with getting to 2,000, but I think it is a reason for fans to feel good about the program.”

Ballard interviews at Baker: KU director of basketball operations Brett Ballard interviewed for the head-coaching position at Baker University on Monday, a Baker official confirmed. Ballard, a former KU guard from Hutchinson, is in his seventh year on Self’s KU basketball staff.

Dooley report incorrect: A Monday morning Foxsports.com report that Kansas University basketball assistant Joe Dooley had been offered the head-coaching job at East Carolina was incorrect.

“Nothing has been offered. Nothing is imminent at all. (They are) still gauging interest,” KU coach Self said.

Dooley has already served a tenure as East Carolina coach. He was 57-52 in four seasons (1995-99). He was fired by the prior administration.

Self has a policy of not letting his assistants discuss other jobs publicly. Self does not have a policy prohibiting assistant coaches from accepting jobs before the end of KU’s season. Foxsports.com later reported that Dooley is expected to withdraw from consideration.

East Carolina is looking to replace coach Mack McCarthy, who was reassigned after compiling a 34-55 three-year record.

D: Self had a good line about KU’s defense: “This week it’s much better than it was last week. There’s been a lot of bullfighting stuff on TV lately. That’s kind of where we were last week. Now we are getting a little bit better where we are actually putting up some resistance (instead of just waving the cape),” he joked. “I thought we guarded K-State very well and Missouri very well.”

Finalist: Self is one of 15 finalists for the Jim Phelan national coach of the year award. Others include Kansas State’s Frank Martin and Texas A&M;’s Mark Turgeon.

• A previous version of this story was updated.

Comments

Benjamin Piehler 12 years, 3 months ago

i too am concerned by inconsistency; it only takes 1 night of average play to end dreams in March.

fansincewilt 12 years, 3 months ago

If you meet a team that shoots a lot of 3's and is hitting 60% of them I don't see how you could beat them. If that happens, it just happens. Someone in the tournament is going to run into something like that and there is going to be a big upset or two. In our 08 run we were one shot away from going down to Davidson. Although Davidson was very good that year, not many expected that Cinderella run. I think the OK State game was a fluke. I don't expect them to do much in either tournament. They may have one game like that again but that will be it. Our guys were not prepared for that kind of shooting but there are not many teams that are going to be able to win in that kind of situation. I think this team is ready but an upset could happen at any time.

bradynsdad 12 years, 3 months ago

i am biased for kansas but i couldnt imagine leaving ku for a program not on the map. i know most asst. coaches want their own head coaching jobs but to leave one of the most elite schools in the country. i couldnt imagine sitting on the sidelines helping ku win championships.

bradynsdad 12 years, 3 months ago

i am biased for kansas but i couldnt imagine leaving ku for a program not on the map. i know most asst. coaches want their own head coaching jobs but to leave one of the most elite schools in the country. i couldnt imagine sitting on the sidelines helping ku win championships.

Robert Brock 12 years, 3 months ago

After our loss to OSU in 2008 I thought that the Hawks' offense started looking lots better: more screens of all kinds, ball reversal, sharper cuts, better passing, clearer decisions etc. Obviously, our guys started paying attention to the details.

The 2010 Jayhawks don't look as good heading into the tournaments. I am concerned.

Robert Brock 12 years, 3 months ago

After our loss to OSU in 2008 I thought that the Hawks' offense started looking lots better: more screens of all kinds, ball reversal, sharper cuts, better passing, clearer decisions etc. Obviously, our guys started paying attention to the details.

The 2010 Jayhawks don't look as good heading into the tournaments. I am concerned.

docileboy 12 years, 3 months ago

No doubt they have played with inconsistency this season, but they have all the pieces of the puzzle available, so we will see how bad they want it.

Win lose or draw, I will still be a Jayhawk fan.

yates33333 12 years, 3 months ago

In my very objective estimation:

Kansas will play Colorado, Texas A&M, and K-State in that order and win the tournament. Let the games begin. Go Hawks.

BTW, I don't see how they can keep Frank Martin from being coach of the year, but I favor "The Turg"!!! It has nothing to do with his being a Jayhawk. Go Turg.

keith horinek 12 years, 3 months ago

I would like to think that this team knows how good they are and they tend to "toy" with their opponents. That may be the inconsistency we see. When the tournement begins I believe they will have their game faces on. It's march madness, let the fun begin!

KU 12 years, 3 months ago

Sherron and Cole need to turn it up a notch. Neither is playing even close to their best ball. Cole is still great on the defensive end. He covers a multitude of horrible perimeter defense with his blocks, shot alterations and rebounding. He's never been, nor ever will be, a consistent offensive weapon. He has below average touch around the rim, but it seems to have gotten worse over the course of the year. He just needs to drop step and dunk everything.

Sherron.......wow. If his name was "Tyshawn Taylor" people would be giving him holy hell over the past month. He's shooting 36% from the field and he's turning the ball over way too much at 3 times per game. His assist/turnover ratio is down to 1.46. And he's always been just adequate defensively.

If these two don't get with the program, it's gonna be a short tourney run.

KU 12 years, 3 months ago

(Those stats on Sherron in the above post were since January 23rd.)

ParisHawk 12 years, 3 months ago

Since our last loss at OSU more people are posting the same comment more than once. This never happened in 2008. As far as I know, Coach Self has not even addressed this issue. I am very concerned.

Phoggie_Thinking 12 years, 3 months ago

Those stats are ECU are classic. Dooley's record got him fired, but the next guy. . . well maybe Dooley wasn't that bad. Sure makes a person happy to be a Jayhawk fan.

jayhawkinATL 12 years, 3 months ago

With this team, I am much more concerned about fatigue. As much as I want us to win the Big XII tourney, I think playing 3 games in 3 days could end up hurting us in the Big Dance.

tulsahawkfan 12 years, 3 months ago

When, in the tournament, would we have to "play 3 games in 3 days"?

Debbie Mangen 12 years, 3 months ago

Why are we having duplicate and sometimes triplicate posting on the lists lately?

KANSTUCKY 12 years, 3 months ago

Hustle wins championships, indecision loses championships. It doesn't hurt to make a few shots. Starting 40-12 on the number one team in the country makes you look really fluid. Double-clicking doesn't win championships.

Chicago_JHawk 12 years, 3 months ago

tulsahawkfan - How about this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday?

jayhawkinATL 12 years, 3 months ago

Thanks for the clarification, Chicago_JHawk.

BCRavenJHawkfan 12 years, 3 months ago

Sorry to be off topic on this post but something I saw on the national news last night really has set me off.

I was embarrassed as a Jayhawk fan.

I may make some enemies stating this. Last night the national news aired a story that the Supreme Court will hear a case on free speach. The case involves protests at the funerals of our soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the center of this is a whacko nutjob lunatic from Kansas, assembling his crusader's at these military funerals, and claiming the deaths of these soldiers is Gods punishment.........because of gays.

Now here is what set me off. They show footage of this guy at one of the protests and there he is wearing a Kansas Jayhawk jacket. No doubt Jayhawk fans come in all varieties, and the guy is entitled to his opinion. But when anyone cannot respect the American soldier or the soldier's family, and does it while professing to be a Jayhawk fan just like I am; I have to draw the line. I hope our military families across this nation do not think all Jayhawk supporters are like this guy based on what was on this news report.

Sorry to all about the rant.

Sally Presson 12 years, 3 months ago

Sherron and Cole WILL turn it up, I just know it. the hawks can't let up at anytime from here on out, they have to have their heads on straight or we're out!!! And what a shame that would be. All they've done all year is gone with one slip up. We've got it, all the talent a Coach could ever want, the guys just have to come prepared for battle and the deep desire to win the big one!! I know you can do it guys!!!

jayhawkinATL 12 years, 3 months ago

BCRavenJHawkfan...I've seen him in the Jayhawk jacket before (I believe it was 60 Minutes) and it made my skin crawl. I too hate to think about the message it sends out to people across the nation.

jayhawkinATL 12 years, 3 months ago

It's the d-bag Fred Phelps' group protesting...he was the one with the jacket on.

kennethst 12 years, 3 months ago

Regardless of how good a team is......I think you always need to find aspects to improve.....gives them something to work on. But lets face it-this team is excellent. 2009-2010 grade: A+

Jaybate.....what are your thoughts on the Big 12 tournement?

kranny 12 years, 3 months ago

BCRaven, The Idiot's name is Fred Phelps. He's been doing this for years. The problem is that he likes it when people publicly criticize him for his protests. Just adds fuel to his fire. I choose to ignore him and hope that the good Lord forgives him in his next life.

BCRavenJHawkfan 12 years, 3 months ago

jayhawkinatl & kranny:

Your comments affirm that I am in good company. Thank you!

Now on to basketball.

Kye Clark 12 years, 3 months ago

bradynsdad - I hear what you're saying about leaving KU to take a job at Baker or East Carolina, but remember Bill Self was a graduate assistant here at KU, and left to become a regular asst. coach, then went on to take head coaching jobs at Oral Roberts, Tulsa, Illinois, before returning to Kansas. If he had stayed at KU he probably would have been promoted to a regular asst coach, but no way would he have learned the coaching & recruiting skills and positioned himself to eventually be the head coach here. Sometimes little hawks have to leave the nest and start at the bottom rung somewhere.

Christopher Hauser 12 years, 3 months ago

BCRavenJHawkfan- I totally agree. What gets me is that these people protest at the funerals of the very people that protect their right to protest. Makes absolutely no sense to me.

Steve Corder 12 years, 3 months ago

Inconsistant??? They're 29-2

Maybe they win it all; maybe they don't. It's extremely difficult to win 9 straight in this tournament run, but I like our chances better than anyone else.

swjhawk 12 years, 3 months ago

The word is "inconsistent." Do they still have the English Proficiency Exam at KU? As to basketball "KU (anonymous)" is exactly right. I've screamed at the TV all season long for Cole "to just dunk the ball and take the foul!" To invoke the words of Roy "I'm stayin'" Williams, "That's why they're called kids." It is one of the factors in college basketball that adds to the excitement. These are "kids" with million dollar bodies, but also with emotional maturity and heads worth $.10 and up. The uncertainty also makes for great passion for the contests. College basketball is the largest organized religion in the state of Kansas and Fred Phelps is a pimple on our collective butts that needs to be lanced. Let the tourney begin!

Theutus 12 years, 3 months ago

I'm happy to see other people admitting to our inconsistencies finally. I've been pointing these out all season, and usually i get "Go away KSU/Missouri/Kentucky fan" etc etc.

Collins has put up dreadful stats since January, Cole has been really weak on the offensive end, and we are relying on the Morris twins to carry us. On the up side, Taylor has really pulled it together lately (last few games at least), and Reed has been more of a lifesaver than most people realize. He seems to always drain a 3 when we need it most, when the team needs a push of momentum, he provides it at a crucial time.

I really hope we pull it all together heading into the tourny, but honestly I'm not sure what to expect. This team has been getting by playing 10 minutes of good basketball a game, and in the tourny I just don't think that'll cut it. Just this fan's take on it.

TarzanKUfan 12 years, 3 months ago

Hey LJW when are you guys going to fix the double posting.

TarzanKUfan 12 years, 3 months ago

Hey LJW when are you guys going to fix the double posting.

BeakofLight 12 years, 3 months ago

uuh oh

spelling nazi alert!!!

flame on my good man, flame on

kennethst 12 years, 3 months ago

Theutus....

Well said. I wonder if they will be all that motivated for the Big 12 tournement. But then again....they really had little to play for against MU and destroyed them at Columbia so who knows?

Have you patched things up with Jaybate? I really enjoyed your fights!

bradynsdad 12 years, 3 months ago

icthawk very good point. i agree and it is also just me not working in that orginization that makes me think if i were in there no way would i ever leave, but you make a great point. bcraven fred phelps lives in topeka he has no affiliation with ku. he is a jackass who has been doing this for years but when he flipped the coin to be a ku fan or k state fan i guess we lost. they did pass a law stating he could not protest an hour before or after a funeral though. the one thing i dont know about the guy is where he gets his funding.

RockChalk_05 12 years, 3 months ago

"There are now two sources, one a member of the national media, who indicate there is a race to reveal some NCAA transgressions by UK frosh stars, John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins. I am told ... that the investigations concern cash money and, perhaps, real estate."

Please let this be true!!

trueblue9 12 years, 3 months ago

he gets his funding from idiots across our great state. as recently as 1998 he received 15% of the primary vote for governor.

Funhawk 12 years, 3 months ago

I don't think this team is that much of a drop off from the '08 team, if any at all. The other teams in the Big XII are better than from two years ago, and yet we ended up with a better Big XII overall record than from two years ago. At least two, maybe three players know they are not coming back next year. This is it. These guys are going to tear it up and turn it loose.

trueblue9 12 years, 3 months ago

http://score.leoweekly.com/2010/03/08/wall-cousins-under-the-microscope/

don't get me wrong, i think UK and those two are dirty, but i wouldn't take this news outlet as gospel

Robert Brock 12 years, 3 months ago

The team may be 29-2, but think about the close calls this year against Bucknell, Baylor, Colorado, Texas A&M, and Kansas State. Some of those wins were eeked out against solid teams, some not so solid, but the common theme is KU playing down to its opponents' level, not running any semblance of an offense, playing intimidated, missing easy shots, bad tournovers, etc.

Against elite competition, this KU team has less room for error, whereas the 2008 team could get away with playing less productive basketball on offense at times, because of the consistent and stellar defense that forced tournovers and stole extra possession after extra possession. When KU gets to the second weekend in the tournament, the field becomes level and they'll see a Georgetown or a Wisconsin or a Villanova or an Ohio State. They will need to bring the complete package to secure a run to Indianapolis.

BCRavenJHawkfan 12 years, 3 months ago

No team, I don't care who it is, can be right on for the full 40 minutes. It really comes down to how good are you during those down minutes.

Fo me the measuring stick is a regular season game from the 2008 team. It was the Baylor game. That may sound odd to many, but here is why. In that game KU did not make one 3 pointer. That game was close, Baylor scored 90 points in that game. KU still won that game, 100 - 90.

BCRavenJHawkfan 12 years, 3 months ago

Regardless of whether or not the Wall/Cousins rumors are true, for them and UK it becomes the "distraction" that Self mentions you cannot have at this time.

JayhawkerNDC 12 years, 3 months ago

Question: Story states the tournament is 64 teams. Is the play-in game really not considered a tourney game? Cause it would make 65.

focojayhawk 12 years, 3 months ago

First off, I have to say, I am flying into KC Thursday morning for the touney and can' t wait! I went a couple years ago and it is just a blast. Doesn't hurt when your team is the best team in the nation;) Plus, the P and L District is absolutely awesome!!

Second, I have a theory on Sherron for those who have been concerned with his play, yet feel he will get better in NCAA tourney play. Don't get me wrong, I think even though his play may not be as good as it was early on, he has still be great! I, however, feel his play may be down because the Big 12 is so used to playing him. Think how many times some of these teams have faced him. It seems that anymore his drives to the hole are rejected more often than not. With all this said, I think he will be back to himself or better for the NCAA tourney. Other teams can watch tape all they want, but when they defend him in person...different story. Any thoughts/opinions?

kennethst 12 years, 3 months ago

focojayhawk-

First.....thanks for supporting the Jayhawks by coming in for the game and tournement. They always can use our support. I wish I could be there.

Yes.....I agree. Sherron Collins is awesome and yes people have got used to him after 4 years. Also.....I think he has changed his game as well from the first couple of years. He is more of a floor general now and focused on winning. When he was younger he didn't have that responsibility as much and could do more things.

I think it's great he he has matured. He seems to really just care about winning....not on his own stats.

Have a safe trip...enjoy the games.

Jesse Newell 12 years, 3 months ago

JayhawkerNDC — Good catch. It's been fixed above.

lawrence_is_my_middle_name 12 years, 3 months ago

I've been saying this same thing all year, this team just doesn't have the cohesion that the national champions had. The 08 team was comprised of mostly upperclassman. We had one freshman (Cole), two sophomores (Collins and Arthur), two juniors (Brandon and Mario), and three seniors (Russel, Sasha, and Darnell) in our eight-man rotation, and Cole barely played at all really. This year we have one senior (Sherron), three juniors (Cole, Brady, and Reed), three sophomores (the Morris twins and Taylor), and one freshman (Xavier). Thomas Robinson is like Cole, he hasn't played very much at all in serious moments of the game, but provides extra depth in case of serious foul trouble. And this year a freshman is one of our go-to guys offensively, as Henry plays a much bigger role than Cole did in his first year.

Folks, that 08 team was SEASONED. They had a solid core that only forms after playing basketball together for three years, which Mario, Brandon, Russel, Darnell, and Sasha had done. I anticipate that we will see the same thing next season, whether Cole and/or Henry come back or not. We will have that solid core of Morningstar, Reed, the Morris twins and Tyshawn, not to mention Travis Releford and Mario Little coming back from redshirting. That's three years of all those players practicing together and knowing each other's games inside out. And if Cole and Henry decide to both stay... dear God, that team would legitimately have a shot to go undefeated. If we win it all this year, which definitely could happen, I see us winning back to back titles, and maybe a three-peat if the Morris twins stay all four years. The future is very, very bright for Kansas Basketball, all thanks to HCBS, the best in the nation.

okiedave 12 years, 3 months ago

X Henry is now leading Kentucky newspaper poll for Freshman of the Year with 51% of the vote over Wall - Cousins - Flavors. vote at: http://www.wlky.com/index.html (on left hand side of main page - scroll down). Hilarious that X wins popularity contest in Kentucky over Wall and Cousins. X was far behind in last place on Sunday but with the help of Jayhawkers and Cardinals, has come streaking far ahead of Wall and Cousins to the chagrin of Wildcats in home state poll.

sdku 12 years, 3 months ago

Everyone needs to calm down, a lot of negativity on these board today.

Look, yes we've been inconsistent so has every other team out there.

Defense leads to offense and look what has happened these past 2 games when we play defense, the offense follows ALWAYS. Doesn't eveyone know we are #1 in 2 point defense, LOL. I guess not!

Collins and Aldrich will step up at the right time but we have a lot of players that can do damage, don't forget. Collins doesn't need to put up 20 points, he just needs to lead the team well and not turn the ball over.

The team is fine and will be prepared! Everyone's been to the dance except X, so he may take a couple games to get on point.

KUbsee69 12 years, 3 months ago

Has anyone seen the Vegas odds on the tourney lately? If so, let us know.

Day Shepherd 12 years, 3 months ago

I'm curious about Coach Self's take on post play. It seems to me that some of our bigs settle for the jump hook, especially Cole. The power move, i.e., drop step, is not beign utilized enough. Any thoughts?

jaybate 12 years, 3 months ago

Dear TenaciousD & kustrong,

Thanks for the recent praise in other threads. I don't deserve it, but appreciate it.

Dear Aligned (in reference to your recent post that Self could bless an assistant without prior head coaching experience and get one of his assistants a head coaching job at a major),

Is your mail sent to a fantasy world? :-) To wit, some examples...

~Gillispie--Harry Miller assistant at Baylor, Self Assistant at Tulsa/Illinois, UTEP head coach (mid major), TA&M head coach (major), UK head coach (elite) ~Janks--Texas Pan Am assist to Lon Kruger, KSU assist. to Hartman, N. Texas State head coach (failed turn around at mid major), Hutch Juco, Vandy assistant, Self Assistant, Illinois State head coach (mid major), ???? (major) ~Lon Kruger--Pittsburg State assist (DII), KSU assist to Hartman, Texas Pan Am head coach (mid major), KSU head coach (major),
~Billy Donovan--UK assist., Marshall (mid major turn around), Florida (major) ~Jeff Capel--ODU assist., VCU assist, VCU head coach (mid major), OU (major).

First, notice, that I botched Jeff Capel's background in a post awhile back and wrongly recalled he assisted Coach K and jumped straight to OU. Wrong! He has climbed up the same ladder as everyone else. When time permits, it always pays to refresh the memory with a little internet searching.

Second, notice the pattern: assistant, mid major success, major head coach, and in Self and Gillispie's cases jumps to head coach of elite programs on the heels of big success at a major.

Third, notice also the first three are part of the Okie Baller Mafia--Gillispie through Self; Janks after a brief hitch assisting at Texas Pan American under Kruger moving to assist Hartman at KSU; and Kruger assisting Hartman at KSU.

Donovan, having played for Pitino at Providence, is a product of Pitino's substantial coaching network.

Capel, having played for Coach K at Duke, probably got placed as an assist. straight out of Duke by virtue of Coach K's extensive network. University officials also like to say they hired someone from Duke, because it has some academic cache.

I mention the Okie Baller Mafia (OBM) connection, because this is one of the most extensive good old boy networks in coaching and endlessly looks after its unofficial membership. If the OBM can't place guys directly at majors, not many other networks could either.

jaybate 12 years, 3 months ago

You seem to underestimate the pressure on university officials to hire proven winners, so as to pacify alumni. Few schools, even lowly ones want to hire a loser, no matter how fine his reputation is in the coaching community. Further, university officials are mostly scholars lacking rigorous basketball knowledge, or AD's who may know the game, but are primarily focused on immediate fund raising. It is tough to stimulate fund raising with a coach who left a program--elite, major, or mid major--as a loser. It is also pretty tough to stimulate fund raising with an assistant of a famous/elite coach.

Assistants of famous/elite coaches that jump straight to the head of a major without any head coaching experience on their resume's are still exceptions, not the norm.

Assistants of famous/elite coaches that jump to elite programs are scarcer even than those that jump to majors. Roy Williams comes to mind at KU.But Roy remains an anomaly that could probably only happen because a freakish convergence of factors: a) Dean's KU connnection; b) KU on probation; and c) KU AD Monte Johnson really knowing basketball and being one of the few ADs with the courage to gamble everything at an elite program on a guy who had never been a head coach.

Conclusion: Few majors, and even fewer elite programs, are going to take a chance on a Self assistant, or any other elite coach's assistant, without that assistant first having turned around a mid major. Why? Because there is more to coaching than x's, o's, and recruiting. When you hire a coach, you want him to know how to assemble a staff.

jaybate 12 years, 3 months ago

First, you want your head coach to already have assembled a staff at a mid major and so have a plug and play staff that hits the ground running at the major.

Second, you want your head coach to have had several years of recruiting for himself, so he brings an ample pipeline supply of several grade levels of high school and junior high recruits to bring to your school.

Third, you want your head coach to already be thoroughly informed and experienced regarding recruiting and student athlete regulations, so he does not have to learn on the job (i.e., make mistakes) at your major

Fourth, you want your head coach to have already established the social and political skills related to alumni fund raising and faculty interactions to enable the money end of things to be smoothed and improved by his hiring.

Fifth, you want your head coach to have had to learn to win with mid major talent; i.e., you want a coach that already knows how to mask weaknesses in talent (i.e., mid majors rarely have all the pieces), and still win, while he is taking 2-3 years to get a nucleus of his own top talent in place at the major.

Sixth, if you are already an elite program, you want your head coach to have all of the above, plus you want a guy from a major that has a full pipeline of the very best recruiting talent already available to bring to your school. For example, Self having recruited Chicago extensively for Illinois, and his staff having recruited extensively for Illinois' top 25 program, was able to bring Sherron Collins with him to KU, plus likely several others that have come to KU.

As I have laid it out, it would be absurd in most cases for a major, and especially for an elite program, to go with an assistant plucked straight from an elite program's staff.

Rock Chalk!

Tony Bandle 12 years, 3 months ago

Actually, Kansas has been quite consistant...by being inconsistant all season, but are we alone?

Heck, UK lost to South Carolina for God's sake and Syracuse lost to a Division 2 team in preseason and Lu'ville twice!!

I see the 2008 team as Fred Astaire, supremely talented yet smooth with an almost effortless style, and the 2010 team as Gene Kelly, also supremely talented but with an athletic hard edge to each effort.

About the only edge the 2010 team has over the 2008 team is that they've got two guys that have been to the mountaintop before.

AND THAT IS THE KEY........Sherron and Cole must perform at their very best to take us all the way. In a way, their inconsistency is the root of the team's inconsistency.

Vincent Patterson 12 years, 3 months ago

Biggest difference between this team and the '08 team is our ability to finish strong around the basket. Although Kieff and Marcus have made big strides this season, most of the time they still finish soft at the rim instead of flushing it through with authority. Cole is still guilty of this at times as well. Think about how many lobs and drop step dunks our bigs had every game in '08. There is an emotional lift/push over the competitor when you continue to stuff it down their throat with authority. It begins to frustrate them and get in their heads, which alot of times leads to dumb fouls because they don't want to get flushed on and embarrased. So that is really the only thing that scares me about this team - what happens when we play someone big and physical, with a couple of leapers, on a big stage like the tourney and we start missing those bunnies that they (Kieff and Marcus especially) have been fortunate to hit these past few games? Cause everyone knows they were missing quite a few of those (bunnies) earlier this season.

All in all, I think even though we lack in that department a bit, I still like our chances in the tourney. With our experience and depth, I think we have the same chances, if not greater, as the other top 3 or 4 teams out there. Hell, every team has been inconsistent this season at one point or another. This team is not as good as '08, bottom line. You put them up against that Carolina team or Memphis team from '08, I think we lose. But this is a pretty dam good team, and with the competition not being at the level it was in '08, I still like our chances and still think we can get it done.

trueblue9 12 years, 3 months ago

Vegas odds:

KU 2-1 UK and Cuse 3-1 Duke 7-1 KState 10-1 WV and Ohio St 12-1 Mich St 15-1 Nova 18-1

James122 12 years, 3 months ago

One major area in how far we go in the NCAA tourney will be can we handle the press? As we saw this year against Texas A & M and will see in the Big 12 tourney, A & M will press us and cause 15+ to's. Keep the ball high, maybe try ball fakes once in a while.

Hopefully, we will use our bench when we want to instead of we we have to. Collins as a senior leader must show better leadership by making better choices in passing and his shooting.

The rebound area was a major concern of mine, but I believe that has been taken care of. Wherever Robinson learned his last offensive move, please pass it on to our other bigs, wow, what a move by a fr.

Go Hawks!!

Kye Clark 12 years, 3 months ago

BrockIII - First of all, we didn't play Bucknell this year. Whatever close call games you may be referring to, referencing an NCAA loss from 2005 does not help your arguement.

As far as the inconsistency issue is concerned...I guess. Using the "eyeball test" it certainly seems that this team is more inconsistent compared to the '08 team. However, I agree with Funhawk, I don't think that this team is that much worse than that Championship team. Consider that this team has a scoring margin of +18.6 ppg, compared to 19.0 ppg in '08. The '08 team shot the ball a bit better (50.8% vs. 48.9% this year), but believe it or not this team is actually ever so slightly better at scoring defense, holding opponents to 37.6% shooting whereas the '08 team held opponents to 37.9% shooting. This team shoots the 3 a little better (40.4% vs 39.7% in '08) but shoots free throws a little worse (69.7% vs 70.2% in '08), this team turns the ball over a little less often (12.8/game vs.13.2/game in '08) but doesn't force as many turnovers (+1.71 turnover margin vs +2.35 in '08). What has been pointed by out by many fans as our major weakness is perimeter defense and guarding the 3, well opponents are shooting 33.3% against us this year from beyond the arc, and in '08 they shot 32.8%, so the Championship team was half a percentage point better. For this year's squad opponents are making 6.29 threes/game, in '08 opponents made 7.05/game. There isn't any statistical comparison that I can find that makes me say "wow! That '08 team was so much better."

Kye Clark 12 years, 3 months ago

This team is also playing a much tougher schedule. Consider that in '08 Kansas was #4 in the RPI and Texas was #6, you have to go all the way down to #34 to find the next regular season opponent (Oklahoma). This year, Kansas is #1 in the RPI, K-State is #6, Texas A&M is #11, Tennessee is #13, Temple is 15#, Cal is #20, Texas is #26, & Oklahoma State is # 28, all better than that Oklahoma team which was (according to the RPI) the second toughest team they faced prior to heading into the conference tournament. All in all, this team is 11-2 against the RPI top 50, 13 games! In '08, 4-1...only 5. The Big 12 in general is so much tougher. To illustrate, in '08 the league's bottom feeders were Iowa State (RPI #192) and Colorado (RPI #177). This year the two worst teams are Nebraska (RPI #155) and Iowa State (RPI #114). Of course the '08 numbers are the final RPI figures, so it's possible a game or two that is now considered as being against the top 50 might not be by seasons end, but I think it's safe to say this team is up against better competition night in and night out. So while we all may look at a game against Nebraska at home and shake our heads that we only won by 11, not sure how that's any worse than the '08 team winning by only 11 at Iowa State.

I know that I may have "statistic-ed" this whole thing to death, and it's true if you work hard enough you can make stats say almost whatever you want them to. However, given the comparable statitical comparison all while playing against tougher opponents, I don't think it's quite a stretch to say that this team is pretty close to the '08 team. That team got hot at the right time, and yet still (as someone else pointed out) was one possession, one shot away from bowing out in the elite 8. They were one fantastic comeback, one opponent's made free throw, and one 3 point miss away from losing to Memphis in the Championship game. So even if we don't win a championship, while it will be disappointing I will not be too down on this team and what they have accomplished.

jaybate 12 years, 3 months ago

jaybate News Service (jns):

Dateline: Area 51, Nevada

Slug: Helen and Bill's Area 51 Alien Casino NCAA Men's Basketball Odds:

KU 1-2 Aliens 1-1 Syraxcuse 2-1 Bert's College of Animal Husbandry and MidWifery Doris Duke Juco 5-1 Anova (Analysis of Variance College) 6-1 Cheegan State (Ratso Izzo U) 7-1 Muggins U (aka WVU) 14-1 Duckeyes 15-1 Contucky fuggedaboutit-1

Most Likely to Get Memphuckied:

Contucky 1-1 Others statistically insignificant

Odds of Cal Jumping to Jersey to Unite Lebron, Wall, and Cousins with CDR: 1-1

Odds of Cal Not Wearing Mousse: 1,000,000 - 1

Odds of NCAA Final Being Played in the Nude: Slim and none

(Note: All fiction, no malice.)

jaybate 12 years, 3 months ago

Erratum:

Bert's College of Animal Husbandry and MidWifery 4-1 (but only if Bert doesn't kill one of his players during a time out)

jaybate 12 years, 3 months ago

"I know that I may have "statistic-ed" this whole thing to death, and it's true if you work hard enough you can make stats say almost whatever you want them to."--the ict mahn

Correction: it is not how "hard" one works the statistics that lets one use them to say whatever one wants. It is, rather, skillful violation of the underlying assumptions of statistical models that allows one to make statistics say whatever one wants. :-)

kennethst 12 years, 3 months ago

Jaybate-well done as always.

I was thinking of giving Theutus an early Chritmas present with a subscription to your news service.

If you didn't notice.....I have been trying to instigate another fight between you! We have to pass the time until Thursday somehow!!

I hope you will be on this board commenting in the "game-time" article on Thursday and this weekend. It's great to have your input!

kvskubball 12 years, 3 months ago

Vinny Vin...

I disagree about the biggest difference between the champ squad and the current squad...

I see three major differences:

1 This team is younger than the championship squad at every position, including key bench players, BY AT LEAST ONE YEAR, at every position other than PG (Sherron & RusRob - both seniors, and X is younger than B Rush)

2 This team is not a good passing team. We can hardly ever connect on a lob pass for dunk in the half court offense, and find it difficult to feed the post period, The 08 team was a very good passing team.

3 The current squad is not nearly as good at defense as the 08 squad, especially in anticipating and picking off passes in the passing lane. The current squad is better at Post D - because of Cole.

There have been other parts of the current squad's game that have been 'inconsistent', but these three differences have been 'CONSISTENT' differences. The only one of the 3 differences that we've really been able to improve on is #1 - because a team naturally ages and gets more experienced over the course of the year. We are not a much better passing team or 'disrupting' defensive team than at the beginning of the season...either the current guys aren't wired that way, or they haven't gotten enough experience to get where they need to be...I'm not sure which it is, but I think it is the former rather than the later...

Does that mean we can't win it all? NO, but I think it will be much more difficult, and if we run into a Davidson this year, we're probably headed home...

Rock Chalk!

niemoth 12 years, 3 months ago

I think a lot of our inconsistency is also how good this conference is this year. 7 teams at a 7 seed or higher on Lunardi's latest bracket. I'm guessing no conference has ever done that before. A fourth of the nation's top 28 teams. Don't see how Mizzou will be that high though without Safford and a probably loss to A&M. Although, I'll actually be rooting for Mizzou so that we can stomp them again.

jhokfan 12 years, 3 months ago

According to Phelps wiki page he has 71 members, 60 of which are family members. Obviously some inbreeding taking place. He’s had some confrontations with KU. Is it possible he wears that jacket because he knows what an embarrassment he is?

Theutus 12 years, 3 months ago

Kennethst, I don't know where you keep getting this "fight" thing from. I don't personally care for any of Jaybates "news service" posts, or his 8 post rants.... That being said, i usually just skip them.

Some people enjoy them, that's cool. It's his opinion and he's giving it on a board specifically for the purpose of sharing them. He's a fan being a fan, good on him. I'm still going to give my opinion just the same.

Also, someone earlier mentioned that this team has faced more competition than the '08 team. I suppose I agree based on RPI alone. Then again, you have to admit that this year really is one of the weaker years in talent all around the league. There aren't any dominant teams this year. No team has really put together everything in order to truly dominate. I still think at this point in the 08 season, we were more consistent and more talented. Of course, this doesn't really matter come tourny time. This team could end up being better, it all depends on them. They definitely have the ability.

tulsahawkfan 12 years, 3 months ago

Chicago J Hawk - didn't realize we were now calling the Big 12 tournament "the Big Dance"

kennethst 12 years, 3 months ago

Theutus,

I'm just passing time until Thursday(At some point I should probably get a life!)

I think it will be interesting to see how KU does this weekend-They are probaly looking ahead to March Madness. But I'm hoping the will win the Big 12 Tournement.

Hope to see you on this board on Thursday...

kennethst 12 years, 3 months ago

Theutus,

I'm just passing time until Thursday(At some point I should probably get a life!)

I think it will be interesting to see how KU does this weekend-They are probaly looking ahead to March Madness. But I'm hoping the will win the Big 12 Tournement.

Hope to see you on this board on Thursday...

Robert Brock 12 years, 3 months ago

icthawkfan316,

My sincerest apologies are extended - I confused Cornell with Bucknell - Freudian slip I guess. I think KU may be pound for pound the best team in the country, but KU obviously has its flaws just like Syracuse, UK, and everyone else out there has their flaws. I frankly don't see elite teams this year like I did in 2008. The disparity between the top tier and the rest of the field this year is much smaller than it appeared in 2008 when you had some heavy juggernauts with real star power. I appreciate your statistical digging and the comparison between the 2008 and 2010 teams, which is very interesting. We can take all the statistics we can find to show that those two KU teams are eerily similar, but can we honestly say that this team is better than that team? I'm not trying to make a case that this is a matter of David vs. Goliath, but that team was infused with experience, a chip on their shoulder, incredible perimeter defense, big shot capability, etc. Defense is the key difference in my mind and the case can be made that this team is extraordinarily efficient, that 2008 team was flat out intimidating. You can point to their flaws as well - Rush was too passive or Arthur was too passive and prone to foul trouble or too many occasional offensive lulls, but overall consistency was greater. I think there is no question this 2010 team has the goods to win it all. I am eager to get this tourney started.

SCHNBALL 12 years, 3 months ago

I am going to go ahead and make my NCAA tourny predictions for the first 4 games, and it is a simple prediction:

  1. If Sherron Collins total possessions ( shots taken & turnovers combined) is less than 30% of the total possessions of the Jayhawks for the game, I will see in you in Indy.

30-35% chances are reduced. 35-40% watch out.

Final Four predictions to follow:

kennethst 12 years, 3 months ago

Whatever happenned to CJ Henry? I can't recall him playing in probably 2 months.

Theutus 12 years, 3 months ago

kennethst, he got hurt in a practice. Smashed his tailbone pretty hard. From what I remember it was a really deep bruise on the bone.

If memory serves me correctly, he just started lightly practicing again last week. We probably won't see him the rest of the season unless we run into foul trouble.

Looking forward to seeing him next season though!

jaybate 12 years, 3 months ago

} kennethst,

I have sworn off arguing with Theutus until the next argument! :-)

Life permitting, I will be at the box and ready to go Thursday and after. This is the special time of The Special Season. Everyone has to be contributing.

} kvskubball,

Target Accuracy of your '08 vs. '10 comparison is high. You correctly note most of the ways this years team is not as good as the '08 team.

Now let's inventory aspects of this year's team that are better than the '08 team.

  1. Cole is a more complete defensive and rebounding and shot blocking center than either Shady, or Sasha. But Shady was much better offensively and Sasha could guard the post by himself without much help at all, where as Cole needs double teams against the big studs. Overall, Shady and Sasha in combination were better than Cole, except for shot blocking.

  2. The Combination of Marcus and Kieff is better than Darnell Jackson in scoring and rebounding, though not as intimidating on defense and not as springy on the alley oops. Cus and Kieff score more points and rebound more per game than Darnell did. They have to, of course, because Cole cannot score out of the post nearly as well has Shady did. But, still, Cus and Kieff are much more productive than Darnell and they can stay fresh and have more fouls to give. On the other hand, they are not as mature, nor as overpoweringly strong, nor as springy as was Darnell. Darnell contributed way beyond his talent and points. He was a real enforcer and an human inspiration. He was the man on that team that no other team could intimidate, nor shake the optimism of. Of any thing mentioned missing from this year's team, it is the spirit and will and loving inspiration in the front court of Darnell Jackson that I would most like to have on this team. He was the least understood giant of that team, probably the most talented glue man KU has ever had in the front court.

jaybate 12 years, 3 months ago

  1. This years KU team is a fabulous outside shooting team. Because of the sheer number of 40% trinitizers KU--can field up to five trinitizers--Sherron, X, Brady, Tyrel and Kieff.--it is a better outside shooting team than the '08 team. But the '08 team had the most clutch, go-get a basket at crunch time three point shooters that were also great athletes (Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers, and Sherron Collins). This year's team has just two: Sherron and X.

  2. This year's team just is more emotional than the '08 team, which is good and bad. ; This means it can reach the edge of its envelope (though it probably lacks as big of an envelope as the '08 team for the reasons you mention above) more often than the '08, but it also means it does so only for spurts and it is less consistent, as a result. I nicknamed the '08 team the KC Cool Jazz Quintet. Brandon Rush was the hub of the team and the team had his personality. Calm.collected, steady and relentless when motivated, but often times that team just went to sleep. When the team was on, it could be on for entire games, or for a series of games. It rarely played beyond itself. It just was not emotional enough to do so. Had it been a more emotional team its highs would have been higher and its lows lower. It played very much like a UCLA team under Wooden in terms of avoiding the emotional highs and lows, but still being able to reach competitive greatness when necessary. The '08 team was as close to a juggernaut as we have seen since the 1976 Indiana team IMHO. I had hoped this year's team would be more of a juggernaut emotionally, but Sherron and Cole are just too emotional of players for this team not to have incredible peaks and valleys during games. Both Sherron and Cole have to turn on an emotional afterburner to truly dominate; therefore they can never dominate for entire games.BRush and Mario Chalmers and Russell Robinson and Shady and Darnell Jackson could just basically bring it buzzer to buzzer, except when Rush and Shady fell asleep. They were such great athletes they could sustain incredibly high levels of play without turning on the emotional afterburners. It was a good thing, too, because except for the UNC game, in which the team came out more juiced than ever before and the emotional Cole Aldrich gave them a huge emotional lift, there were times when it was doubtful that they even had emotional afterburners.

jaybate 12 years, 3 months ago

  1. Of late this team has begun to play with greater interchangeability of parts than the '08 team ever did. Or as Self said, there were a few times out there against KSU and MU that you could not tell who the starting 5 was. I believe this was Self's vision for this team all along. The '08 team only had interchangeability with Chalmers, RR and Sherron. There was no substitute for Rush. And when Kaun came in for Shady, you lost all the offense and most of the rebounding. You had to send Rush to the boards to help Darnell, because all Kaun could do that last season was guard the post. People were hoping for a 10 deep team this season, but Self' decided that though he had numbers, the players weren't developed enough to go ten deep, What Self really hoped could make this team special was that it would have 7, maybe 8 first stringers. What he got was 7--7 guys without fall off--7 guys composed of three front court players and 4 back court players that, though not all impact players and suited for different match-ups, could come in and form combinations that were just as good as the starting five. It was a little hard to see where Self was headed early, because he seemed to be aiming for a 10 man team with every position having its own back-up. Maybe he was early. But from January on, the goal began to be to find 7 guys that could be juggled in various combinations to create an equally good 5 no matter the style of play they faced. one group of 5 guys could handle motion. another group of 5 could handle high low and pick and roll. another 5 could handle great shooters. another combination of 5 could handle inside teams. another combination of 5 could handle ball screen teams. another 5 handle zone. But the one common thread was all 7 had to be able to muscle and grind it out, when things weren't going. A primary requirement of grind it out is making few TOs, and getting burned rarely.

jaybate 12 years, 3 months ago

Tyshawn was the weak link. He wasn't tough enough and he made TOs; that's why he got put in the toughening box for so long. Tyshawn had to get emotionally and physically tougher to fit in the various combinations Self foresaw using him in and he had to handle the ball more in some of them with fewer TOs (i.e., when Sherron when to the wing to keep two good trey shooters in when Tyshawn was required for defense). Self hoped for 8 instead of 7, but Elijah never could shoot well enough, ,or could he hold down his mistakes. Withey was just not strong and active enough when competition was intense and the bigs got mean and active. TRob for a long time was too mistake prone and trying too hard. But here at the end of the season he has garnered some minutes and begun to look like the at least something distantly like what Self was hoping for as an 8th man--a 4th man in the paint. TRob has the moves, strength and motor to get the job done. He just made too many mistakes. But he seems to be showing signs of getting comfortable enough with the tasks and with the pace that he can at least give Self 5 minutes a game without hurting the team too much. Elijah has continued to blow his chances by getting burned on defense, whenever given even a few seconds (note: he was burned twice in 15 seconds against KSU).

The '08 team was an assassination team of SEALs working cooly and methodically and with total confidence in their ability to perform and get the job done. And they took no prisoners. There only problem was sometimes they just were too calm and methodical.

The '10 team is more of a platoon of fairly seasoned conventional soldiers that has to be more journeyman in getting the job done, but invariably gets juiced in the heat of battle and does some amazing things above and beyond the call of duty. Its big problem is that sometimes it is just too toasted to turn on the emotional afterburner, or to put it another way, it just can't turn it on and keep it on consistently enough to put many teams away.

jaybate 12 years, 3 months ago

Would I rather go to war in March with a team like the '08 team? Of course.

But is NCAA tournament history full of teams of great emotion getting on a roll and winning it all, especially during years when there is no one great juggernaut team? Absolutely. Howard Porter's Villanova. Valvano's NC State team. Maybe the UNC team that beat Wilt.

I actually think this year's team has a better chance of winning it all that the '08 team did. Why? Because there were more teams with all the pieces and with lots of experience during '08.

This season KU is the only team with all the pieces plus experience, even though it has a year less experience than the '08 team and must start a freshman the '08 team did not have to start.

Its emotionalism and inconsistency are not things Self can finally rid it of. Both are structural parts of the composition of the team's two stars and reliance on a remarkable freshman.

Great teams win by being the very best they can be at what they actually are.

Bill Russell's great USF teams were like Russell: Playing at the edge of their envelopes but almost neurotically driven to excellence and consistency.

Jabbar's UCLA teams were like Jabbar: even keeled, though a bit moody, steady, with a chip on their shoulders, a little arrogant, distinctly aware of how good they were.

Walton's UCLA teams were like Walton: wildly emotional but reigned in, capable of stunningly great performances, but also of periods of muddling along.

Noah and Horford's Florida teams were like Noah and Horford: an amazing counterbalancing of muscle and finesse that just seemed to produce a team of perfect balance relentlessness late each season.

The '08 Jayhawks were like Rush and Jackson: an amazing balance of finesse and muscle and the greatest defensive team in the history of college basketball.

We can go on and on here.

The point is: this year's KU team is going to be balance of emotion and muscle. If it loses it will be called inconsistent. If it wins it will be called a team that could rise to incredible heights, when it needed to, between bouts of grinding it out.

God, I love this game and this time of year!

We are about to find out which way this KU team will be remembered for the remainder of The Legacy.

If it were to run the table now, it would have a better record than the '08 team.

Some reassessments of relative merit would have to be made.

The Special Season.

The defense never rests.

Rock Chalk!

Kye Clark 12 years, 3 months ago

Theutus - it was me saying that this team has faced a higher level of competition. I don't know if I'd agree that there aren't any dominant teams. Was North Carolina dominant last year, because they had 3 regular season losses (2 to unranked teams and 1 at home) and then lost in the 2nd round of the ACC tourney. What about Florida in '07, they lost 5 games (including a game against KU, and they lost 3 of their last 5 regular season games)? I'd say for Kansas to have one league loss in maybe the toughest and deepest year ever for the Big 12, and for Syracuse to have 3 league losses in a tough Big East Conference that is (according to ESPN's bracketology) looking at putting a 1 seed, a 2 seed, and two 3 seeds in the tournament...those sound like as dominant numbers as we've seen in the last couple of years. I'm not saying this team could beat the '08 team, but dominance is revelant to the season you are playing in.

Even if I accepted your premise that there are no truly dominant teams this year, who did the '08 team play? It's not as if they faced a lot of stiff competition. Their toughest non-conference foe...maybe a USC team that was a 6 seed and lost in the first round of the tourney to K-State? An Arizona team that was a 10 seed and lost in the first round of the tourney to West Virginia? And as I have previously illustrated, the Big 12 was nowhere near as good as it is this year. So I wouldn't even say that my arguement is "based on RPI alone", but looking back the '08 team played a pretty cream puff schedule. Sure once they got to the Final Four they played a couple of great teams, but in their first 4 games the highest seeded team they played was UNLV in the second round, the bracket really opened up for them.

I think a lot of the fans' problems is that we compare everything to the '08 team, as if that's the only way to win a Championship. It's natural, as it is still so fresh in our minds, but think how ridiculous someone would have sounded during the '08 season saying "this team doesn't have that one dominant player like we did in '88 with Danny." Or even, "Florida won it last year by being more dominant inside, Shady has made good strides but he's still not physical enough for this team to have a chance come March." No we don't get as many steals or as many turnovers in general as the '08, but we may never see another pair of guards like Mario & RussRob as great at stealing the ball & anticipating the pass as those two. No we don't get as many lob dunks, but the numbers of the Twins & Cole compare pretty decently to those of Shady, Sasha, & Darnell. What I will say about this team is - I have been impressed all season that despite being relatively young we have won so many tough games, considering the sometimes prolonged slumps of many of our key players (Sherron, Cole, Brady, X, Tyshawn). In this regard I think the team IS similar to the '08 team, one player faltering has not spelled disaster.

kennethst 12 years, 3 months ago

Jaybate,

You're so right-this is the absolute best time of year for college basketball fans.....and especially Kansas fans!!!

I have been looking at Youtube videos of the 2008 championship.

Did you know Billy Packer called the game for KU against UNC like 12 minutes into the game....when we were up by 28 pts? Funny.

thmdmph 12 years, 3 months ago

First, I don't know if the odds listed by trueblue9 is true or not, but Duke getting 7-1 odds of winning the championship? That's like Tarheels getting odds of 100-1 chance of winning championship (or even going to the tournament).

Now, as for this year's team. I agree with coach that this year's team has been inconsistent, but I don't ever remember many teams that were truely consistent during the regular season and actually won the championship.

This year, we have been more inconsistent based purely on the potential of individual players. Indivually, Cole, Collins, X, and Taylor all have so much potential and yet this year, it has been rare that they have displayed their full arsenal the entire 40 minutes or even 20 minutes in more than 50% of the games. That's what make this team inconsistent.

The one consistent player has been Mc Morris. He has played way beyond his perceived potential and surprised everybody.

In all honesty, Cole and Collins has been a disappointment or major inconsistency as Taylor has until recently. X in my opinion has met his expectations (even with the longer than expected freshman wall that he ran into).

Cole's defensive prowess is definitely very respectable, but his offense is way below his potential. Toughness would not be a word I'd describe Cole's offense. When Mc Morris goes up on offense, he goes up strong. When Cole goes up, it's weak. On offense, it just doesn't feel like he has any authority. I think the biggest problem is his conditioning and KU's game set. KU has WAY too many sets that has Cole up at the top setting screens. Thus doing a huge favor for the opponent and fatiguing Cole on offense. If I was KU's opponent, I'd do everything I can to get Cole out on the periphery and away from monopolizing defense around the rim. So many times, I see the ball going up, and Cole is no where to be found around the rim to rebound because he's setting screens and chasing after much smaller and faster guards. Then when we're on offense, he's doesn't go strong and doesn't demand the ball because he's tired.

As for Collins, now that he's a senior, you'd expect a bit more consistency considering he was a 5 star recruit, an All-American, and leader of a #1 team in the country. But so many times, he drags the team down with him when he's in the slump. He needs to be more selective in his shots when he's not feeling it. He needs to get the balls to those who have hot hands rather than taking shots himself. I understand he needs to continue to shot because we need him, but be selective. X can get really hot sometimes, and during these times, Collins need to get the balls to him. Unfortunately, this rarely happens and X ends up having only one good half, because by the time he gets the ball again during second half, he has already cooled down. Furthermore, recently, Collins has made several moves and turn overs that reminds you of the things that Taylor did early on.

thmdmph 12 years, 3 months ago

As for Taylor, he may finally meeting his potential and expectations.

As for X, I think he has done his part. He has been a good role player. He's a freshman and has made poor turnovers. He has lapses in his defenses. But he was recruited as a scorer.

I think inconsistency denoted here is the individuals not playing to their potential during the majority of the times during the majority of the games.

Fortunately, we have so many good players that having two players playing poorly still resulted in wins. Unfortunately, the two players playing poorly has been too often the All-Americans Cole and Collins.

trueblue9 12 years, 3 months ago

thmdmph, sadly unc (like all teams that don't have much of a chance) only is getting 200-1. as for duke getting 7-1, seems right to me, what would you expect to be reasonable for a #1 seed? when we almost won in 2003 as a #3 i had us at 12-1, which was just an extra kick in the junk.

ps. if you don't like the odds i posted, feel free to use google to confirm.

JHWK 12 years, 3 months ago

So true - there are some real defficiencies between this team and '08, but also some real advantages.

My two cents regarding what has stalled our effectiveness this year, and will be good to see us overcome when the chips are on the table for real:

1) Sherron has not been himself lately. Simply put, if he can't pick up the team and pour in shots, he is typically the one everyone else stares at. He's a gamer like very few who have ever worn crimson and blue, so if there's ever been a time to shine, it begins next week.

2) Bunnies. Have you ever seen a team miss so many open opportunities from less than 3 feet away? Cole (especially), Marcus, Markief, TRob and Withey have all been guilty.

3) X factor. Other than K-State at home, X has seemed to lose his way when the competition is tough. He needs to be the Rush of this team. When in doubt, create! When he sits idly behind the 3-pt line (if they're not going in) he becomes an offensive liability. Dribble, drive, create - and learn to use your right hand!

4) Three-point shooting. I feel for Brady - his shooting slump has really been hard to watch. Thankfully, Reed and X have picked it up, and even our buddy TT has made a few. After the 1st game, we need the outside shot to spread out a defense.

Those points made, this is still the last time Cole and Sherron (and likely X) will start for KU. If they are amped, not intimidated, by the expectations on them, and play to their capabilities, they could book the rooms in Indy now. That is what we all want to see, and have been waiting for all year. Sure, they've had their hiccups, and there hasn't been the level of ball this year as in '08 - but all we have is this year, and the next game. I'm ready to see that The Beak Goes On!!!

Rock Chalk!!! www.WeGotTheBeak.com

Mark Wooden 12 years, 3 months ago

Finally, Thanks Cindy for finally stating the obvious. This team is a special team and has not played anywhere near its capabilities all year. They have accomplished what matters the most. A successful season and a Big 12 championship as all the rest is gravy. Any of the 8/9 matchups are going to be tough this year and history shows that these matchups give KU fits.

KGphoto 12 years, 3 months ago

The 08 team was a 3-ring circus when it was meshed. Alley-oops abound. Steals, blocks, passing. It was ridiculous. When they were "on", they were as dominant a college basketball team as I've ever witnessed. Witness http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kesOk3hEHJQ&feature=related

The look on Roy's face at 2:37 in the video demonstrates this. And, by the way, also reaffirms my notion that the first time KU played Roy, it was gonna be a blood bath. Dr. Naismith cometh Roy, and you knew this.

Mark Wooden 12 years, 3 months ago

Finally, Thanks Cindy for finally stating the obvious. This team is a special team and has not played anywhere near its capabilities all year. They have accomplished what matters the most. A successful season and a Big 12 championship as all the rest is gravy. Any of the 8/9 matchups are going to be tough this year and history shows that these matchups give KU fits.

jaybate 12 years, 3 months ago

drgnslayr,

The two games KU has lost tell the way to beat KU.

  1. Have a good shooting night both from the field and from trey, which means you have to handle KU's pressure defense well. This means you've got to have some good shooters that can shoot off picks in half court and get out and get some baskets in transition, also.

  2. Have a guard that can make Sherron inefficient in production. If he goes 6-18 or 7-20 you have a shot. You need a quick defensive PG. Height and speed are less important than great quickness and strength.

  3. Force the ball away from Cole to the Twins. You need an active post man that can front and guard plus help from guards and shooting forward. You want your 4 guarding Marcus.

  4. Have a 4 that can hold the Twins to 16 or less, 7-8 on the boards, and outscore them slightly and match them on the boards. How do you say James Anderson?

  5. Get either Marcus, or Cole, in foul trouble early. It need only be 2-3 fouls. To do this you need a strong, active Wayne Chisum at the 5, or a very gifted James Anderson at the 4.

  6. Hold Xavier, Brady, and Tyrel to 33%, or less, from trey. To do this you've got to have at least one tall perimeter player for X and several small perimeter players that can guard the stripe.

  7. Tyshawn has to be inefficient shooting and make some TOs. To do this, you've got to have have some very quick guards and some bodying inside that make his wing drives contested and sucker him into shooting the trey, plus hamper his only fair ball handling at the point.

All of these happened in the two losses.

And I think all seven have to happen to beat KU. If KU has any four of these, or just sucks at the FT line, or has an off shooting night, or just has a little foul trouble, KU just hunkers down and plays grind it out and finds a way to win at the end based on best match-up--usually Sherron, or Xavier.

Just think how few teams have a center that is big and strong and disciplined enough to guard the post and force the ball away without doubling by the 4 (i.e., with the guards and shooting forward) for 30-35 minutes a game, and also has a 4 good enough to beat the Twins over 40 minutes.

jaybate 12 years, 3 months ago

Then add in the other six requirements and you can see why KU is soooooo tough to beat, despite its inconsistency.

Consider Contucky. Cousins can force the ball away from Cole for 22-25 minutes per game, but he can't play 30-35 minutes a game. Orton is a load and he could well force the ball away from Cole for the balance of the game. This will be the situation where it would be great if Withey/TRob could come up with ten minutes of stalemate to ensure that Marcus and Kieff can devote full time to Patterson. The question then is: can Patterson hold the Twins to 16 points and 8 boards, and score say 20 and grab 10 reebs, all without getting into foul trouble himself? Or does Cal go bigger at the 4 and play Patterson at the 3. Either way, Patterson would have to play probably his best game of the season to put UK in contention, just as James Anderson did. It is possible, but not probable. It is just as probable that Patterson would get worn down by a steady dose of the Twins and get in foul trouble himself. Still, though it would be crucial for Patterson to have a great game against KU, it would not be enough alone to beat KU even if Cousins and Orton contain Cole. It merely puts them in a position to contend. Is Bledsoe good enough to make Tyshawn inefficient on offense? Probably. Okay, so are Contucky's perimeter defenders capable of holding Xavier, Brady and Tyrel all to 33%, or less. Its improbable, because their guards and shooting forwards will probably have to help on Cole to keep Cousins out of foul trouble and force the ball to the Twins, being contained by Patterson, but because Contucky's perimeter defenders are long and athletic, let's say they can. Okay, is Bledsoe a good enough defender to make Tyshawn inefficient on offense? One on one yes, but Bledsoe is going to have to help a lot on Cole, so it is improbable. But let's say somehow he can both help on Cole and keep Tyshawn from wing driving. Alright, then Contucky still has to put a guard on Sherron that can make him inefficient offensively. They have John Wall to do that. Sorry, but here is where the Contucky fantasy ends. With all these other UK guys heavily preoccupied with a level of defense they are not used to playing, Sherron is going to go through John Wall like excrement through a gosling. And if John Wall makes any serious attempt to stay with Sherron, John Wall is going to get fouled up. And KU just is going to win the Steal and TO disruption battle.

jaybate 12 years, 3 months ago

My point of this exercise is not to show how KU will beat UK. My point is to show just how hard it is to beat KU. You've got to do seven things most teams don't have the talent to do.

And with Bill Self coaching defense, and take-what-they-give-us offense, and masking weaknesses for all he's worth, achieving those seven things becomes very, very improbable.

Of course, KU can be beaten. It has lost twice and had many close games.

But let us not confuse our ability to be beaten with the improbability of it.

Playing a Bill Self team is like overwhelming an amoeba. It is very hard to do when he has all the puzzle parts. You stop this and then it does that. You set up here and then it goes there. You control the inside, it goes outside. You guard the outside and it goes inside. You take away the inside and the outside and it plays transition. You take away all three and it hunkers down and plays grind it out refusing to make TOs and annoying you to death with steals and blocks.

The teams in the NCAA tournament are about to find out just how tough to stop KU really is.

Darned tough.

Post Script: My hope for the conference tourney is win 2 out of 3, while playing TRob/Withey 10 minutes per game to have them ready for the Madness and have Cole rested.

jaybate 12 years, 3 months ago

Question: Now that I think about it: is Patterson a 4 for Contucky, or a full time 3? If he's a 3, ooooh, X will contain him and Marcus will probably run wild. If he's a 4, well The Twins can probably at least contain him and X will have some fun.

Kit Duncan 12 years, 3 months ago

jaybate, You wrote: "As I have laid it out, it would be absurd in most cases for a major, and especially for an elite program, to go with an assistant plucked straight from an elite program's staff."

How about Roy Williams? Assistant coach under Dean Smith. Never coached a day beyond High School ball before coming to KU (elite program in 1988 after having won the NCAA Tournament? Yes)

Was his hiring absurd? Quite a few folks thought so. Did it turn out to be a good decision? Unless you're a Roy basher, absolutely brilliant!

Kit Duncan 12 years, 3 months ago

Concerning the inconsistency of this team a couple of thoughts come to mind, chemistry and physical/mental well being.

To address the first, chemistry. Coach Self started the year with a wealth of talent beyond any he could have imagined. He legitimately had two starting fives and another five capable of coming off the bench to sub for any D-1 team. Coach had to figure out the right combination of starters and subs over a relatively short non-con schedule and get them to jell as a team. To hear Bob Knight a couple of weeks ago state that any combination of players that Coach Self placed on the floor had no drop-off in scoring or defense was a big compliment. It just took nearly the entire season to reach that point. Two red-shirts and CJ's injury shortened the bench. TRob, EJ, and Jeff lost minutes to more consistent Markieff, Brady, and Tyrel.

The second is a little more difficult to analyze, but let's look mainly at Cole and Sherron. For the first half of the season, Cole had two issues affecting him mentally AND physically. First was a respiratory ailment that wasn't made public until he was nearly back to full health. The second issue bothering Cole was more difficult to see but possibly caused an even greater drag on his ability to play. Cole's grandmother was in the final months of a long battle against cancer. It has been mentioned in the LJW that Cole was very close to his grandmother and it would be ludicrous to think that he could practice, play and attend to schoolwork without having her on his mind. Combine these things and it's easy to see why Cole has had an off-year. Also, even after Cole was healed from his respiratory ailment, it took weeks for him to get back to full strength.

Sherron's difficulties of late may be due to a few different factors. One is the recent birth of his baby daughter. Anyone who thinks his mind was only on school and basketball is foolish to think that. Second, Sherron's career at KU is winding down. As jaybate stated, this team is more emotional than the '08 team, and Sherron has always had a fire in his belly, so he may not have been as focused of late. Add too, the resurgence of X and Cole's finally being healthy and the need for Sherron to score 25-30 every night has gone away. The final point is, I believe the unnoticed handing of the torch to Tyshawn. Bill's already preparing this team to be Tyshawn's team next year and lately TT has been leading more and more of the offense. Will it be his team in the Tournament? I doubt it. But look for Ty to handle the ball more in games that are in hand.

This team is jelling at just the right time and it would appear all the physical and emotional drains have been removed. The sky's the limit for this team!

Rock Chalk JayHawk!

Kit Duncan 12 years, 3 months ago

This is a test to see why so many duplicates are sent to this board. If you see two of this post it's because I double-clicked on the "post comment" button.

Kit Duncan 12 years, 3 months ago

OK, at least on my Mac double-clicking didn't cause a double post. Maybe someone with a PC could try it.

Kit Duncan 12 years, 3 months ago

OK, at least on my Mac double-clicking didn't cause a double post. Maybe someone with a PC could try it.

Kit Duncan 12 years, 3 months ago

Well, waddaya know. That's it! DON'T click on the "Post Comment" then a second later click again thinking your post isn't being sent. Just click once on the "Post" button. Even if it seems to be taking a long time to return to the "Thanks for your comment" screen, don't click again or you'll get two messages posted like I just did.

Please disregard the PC request, it "will" do it on a Mac.

Kye Clark 12 years, 3 months ago

Navyhawk - I am not one to defend jaybate, we don't always see eye to eye and he is more than capable of defending his statements himself. However, that statement is dead on. The college landscape is quite a bit different today than it was in 1988. In this day and age of 24 hour news cycles, critical talk radio, bigger television contracts, seemingly unlimited satelite & cable channels making nearly every game available, and the internet and all it entails (blogs, recruiting websites, online telecasts of games)...it would indeed be perceived as absurd. If you want proof, look at the elite jobs in the country that have become available in the past few years. North Carolina - well we all know they hired Roy Williams. Kansas - how many assistants were considered? I don't remember any. We hired an up and coming coach from a lesser BCS school. UCLA - hired Ben Howland from Pittsburg. Then look at the two cases of Indiana & Kentucky - they had gone the route that Kansas went, hiring young, somewhat unproven coaches (I say somewhat, neither had ever been to a Final Four) in Kelvin Sampson & Billy Gillispie. When those hires flopped Indiana turned to Tom Crean, who was considered a back-up plan for Kansas, and Kentucky had kinda felt out the possibility of hiring Billy Donavon before hiring John Calipari. These are the 5 most elite jobs in the country, along with maybe Duke, and there is no way these schools would take a chance on an unproven assistant. Not today. There is too much money involved now. The administrators making these decisions have to have be able to say they hired a proven commodity. So yes, hiring Roy Williams was a great hire, but would never happen today.

Chad Hallack 12 years, 3 months ago

We are the most complete team, we are the deepest team, we are the most talented team. The question is... are we the best TEAM?

jaybate 12 years, 3 months ago

NavyHawk,

You're sunk! I mentioned Roy as an exception, plus I gave the extenuating circumstances surrounding his hire. :-)

jaybate 12 years, 3 months ago

ralster and ict,

Thanks for the assists.

kennethst 12 years, 3 months ago

I wonder if "ol Roy" is 100% happy with his decision to leave KU.....sure he has has done well there.....but I still wonder.

Then again.....the other part of me really doesn't care. Most of us probably didn't think it at the time.....but we ended up with the better coach.

Ah well.....there's better things to think about....like the Big 12 Tourney......and my next Scotch of the evening.....thinking about a JB Rare.

jaybate 12 years, 3 months ago

jaybate News Service (jns):

Dateline: Lawrence, KS

Slug: Cindy threatens to replace Dooley, if Joe leaves...

Intrepid jns stringers in Lawrence have located a top secret tunnel system leading from Allen Field House to Bill Self's estate/compound across town. It seems the tunnel system and associated light rail line 100 feet beneath grade in Lawrence were part of the incentive package Lew Perkins developed to keep Self from being seduced by T. Boone Pickens' money bags.

jns stringers have been using the tunnel as a means of sneaking into the Self estate in order to eavesdrop on basketball related conversations during The Special Season.

(Note: jns stringers are under explicit orders from editor/publisher jaybate not to report on any non basketball related activities in the Self household under the jns rubric concerning preservation of family privacy of all persons on earth and in low earth orbit.)

The big basketball scoop to come out of this extraordinary access is that Cindy Self has put her foot down and told Bill Self that she wants no more changes in the KU coaching staff until Bill retires in 2020. She says Bill has finally gotten a staff full of top notch coaches that are the envy of all head coaches in Division 1 and that Bill and Cindy are getting too old to endure another mail bonding phase triggered by the addition of new staff. To make clear to Bill just how serious she is about this issue, she has told Bill that, if Joe Dooley leaves for East Carolina, she will become Bill's new top assistant. And she has said that he has no idea just how intense of force she will be on the bench and in practices, and in recruiting, if she has to take over for Dooley.

jaybate 12 years, 3 months ago

jns stringers on the scene now report that Bill Self has gone to Lew Perkins and demanded that Perk pay Dooley "whatever it takes" to keep him as Self's assistant and keep Cindy off the KU bench. jns stringers report that Self has long relied on Cindy for big game strategy and objective advice about team performance and PT decisions. Self is reported to have told Perkins, "Cindy is just too valuable in her current role in Jayhawk basketball to step down to assistant coach and, believe me Perk, she's serious about this. She doesn't want me going through the pal-ing around thing with a new assistant. She wants me home at night, so we can work out masking strategies and script the first ten minutes of games on the sofa in front of the big screen TV. Really, Lew, she's serious this time!" Perkins is reportedly already passing the hat among alumni to ensure retention of Joe Dooley. Perkins more than any one appreciates the delicate balance of the current KU program and its remarkable success under Bill and Cindy Self. Expect Lew to announce shortly after the season a long term contract for Joe Dooley comparable in duration to Bill Self's and a healthy raise for his great contributions to Self and KU basketball during Joe's tenure here.

Note: All fiction, no malice.

kvskubball 12 years, 3 months ago

As for taking an assistant for a head coach...I think it would have to be a very special individual, so I agree in principal, but wouldn't follow it as Dogma or Papal decree from the 'throne of St. Pete' (is that when it's infallible?)...

There is one I would have no problem with...

Danny Manning! When he's ready, he should be able to step in and be a really good head coach...let's hope he's not 'ready' to leave us any time soon! By 'ready' I'm really saying that he thinks it is the right time and place to move to. Maybe he'll wait and be Coach Self's replacement...That would be about as good a hand-off as we could have..imo

archercc 12 years, 3 months ago

Definately much to be said for experience. The Championship was a very experienced squad, lots of juniors and seniors. That is why you had so much highlight reel stuff. They had been playing together so long that they knew eachothers mannerisms and could predict what the other was doing.

This team, while greatly improved, still appears more of a group of individuals.

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