Monday, July 15, 2013

Painful reminders: A look at Bill Self’s saddest setbacks

Scenes from some of the worst losses in the Bill Self era (we know it hurts): clockwise from top left, Self and Elijah Johnson (15) after a 2013 NCAA Tournament loss to Michigan; Marcus Morris hanging his head late in a tourney setback to Virginia Commonwealth in 2011; Bucknell players swarming the court after a first-round upset of KU in the 2005 NCAAs; Self unable to watch an unexpected loss at TCU five months ago; Tyshawn Taylor dejected after a regular-season loss at Missouri in 2012; Russell Robinson (3) getting out of the way of celebrating Bradley players after KU’s first-round ouster from the NCAAs in 2006; and Self showing off his vertical in a second-round loss to Northern Iowa in 2010.

Scenes from some of the worst losses in the Bill Self era (we know it hurts): clockwise from top left, Self and Elijah Johnson (15) after a 2013 NCAA Tournament loss to Michigan; Marcus Morris hanging his head late in a tourney setback to Virginia Commonwealth in 2011; Bucknell players swarming the court after a first-round upset of KU in the 2005 NCAAs; Self unable to watch an unexpected loss at TCU five months ago; Tyshawn Taylor dejected after a regular-season loss at Missouri in 2012; Russell Robinson (3) getting out of the way of celebrating Bradley players after KU’s first-round ouster from the NCAAs in 2006; and Self showing off his vertical in a second-round loss to Northern Iowa in 2010.



Journal-World File Photos

Scenes from some of the worst losses in the Bill Self era (we know it hurts): clockwise from top left, Self and Elijah Johnson (15) after a 2013 NCAA Tournament loss to Michigan; Marcus Morris hanging his head late in a tourney setback to Virginia Commonwealth in 2011; Bucknell players swarming the court after a first-round upset of KU in the 2005 NCAAs; Self unable to watch an unexpected loss at TCU five months ago; Tyshawn Taylor dejected after a regular-season loss at Missouri in 2012; Russell Robinson (3) getting out of the way of celebrating Bradley players after KU’s first-round ouster from the NCAAs in 2006; and Self showing off his vertical in a second-round loss to Northern Iowa in 2010.

Last month, at the NBA Draft in New York City, former Kansas University forward Ben McLemore and Michigan guard Trey Burke hung out together quite a bit.

During the pre-draft media day, which included a couple of news conferences and a trip to the 9/11 Memorial at the site of the World Trade Center, McLemore and Burke could be seen talking, laughing and enjoying the once-in-a-lifetime experience together.

No anger. No animosity. No nastiness about the fact that, just three months earlier, Burke and the Wolverines ended McLemore’s college career and KU’s season with an improbable comeback that erased a double-digit deficit in the final few minutes and featured the shot of the NCAA Tournament, a 27-footer from Burke in the final seconds of regulation that tied the game and all but buried the Jayhawks.

While the loss and the shot no doubt hurt him at the time, McLemore’s bond with Burke in the Big Apple was proof that life did go on. And even though no one likes the feeling of losing, it is a part of life, as is learning how to deal with it.

KU coach Bill Self has lost just 59 games during his first 10 years in Lawrence. His winning percentage (.836) during that time is among the best in college basketball and has surpassed the incredible standard set by his predecessor, Roy Williams.

Because of their scarcity, many of those 59 losses have been tough for fans and players to swallow. It’s understandable. But if Jayhawks like McLemore can move on and actually become close friends with guys like Burke, who not long ago sent McLemore into tears, shouldn’t we at least be able to rehash those losses in a series of stories that mostly remembers the good times?

Part 7 of this summer’s series, which looks back at the top players and moments — and in this case some of the worst — of the Self era so far, focuses on a few of the most memorable losses during what has been a decade unmatched by nearly all other college hoops programs.

Be forewarned: If you don’t think you can handle looking back on these dark days for KU basketball, you might be best served just to stop reading here and skip ahead to the next article. No sense wasting your time.

Rest assured that in the final few weeks of this summer’s series, we’ll get back to better topics, including best games, best comebacks and best quotes.

Here’s a look at how we ranked the most memorable of those 59 losses:

Gary Bedore

The worst-loss category surely will put folks in a bad mood this morning. One thing fans do not like to do, I’ve learned, is re-live losses. But, hey, somebody’s got to win; somebody’s got to lose. That said ...

1. Michigan 87, KU 85 in 2013 Sweet 16: Trey Burke was great. Let’s just say Elijah Johnson wasn’t, and KU blew a big lead late in the Sweet 16.

2. VCU 71, KU 61 in 2011 Elite Eight: I know I’m over-reacting, and it probably didn’t matter, but I just don’t like the way KU lost the game, with the Morris twins mouthing off at center court, telling VCU players they had a nice little run and it was time to go home. At least, that’s what the VCU players alleged was said. No need to fire up the opposition needlessly.

3. Northern Iowa 69, KU 67 in 2010 NCAA tournament: The second-round loss was maddening as the Jayhawks fell victim to a bunch of guys with hard-to-spell names. Northern Iowa had a nice team and played pretty well, but the final game in a KU jersey for Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich turned out really bad.

4. Bucknell 64, KU 63 in 2005 NCAA Tournament: It was a sad way for Wayne Simien, Aaron Miles, Keith Langford, Michael Lee, et al. to go out in nearby Oklahoma City.

5. Bradley 77, KU 73 in 2006 NCAA Tournament: Bradley had a pretty good team, and KU did lose eight games that year and was mighty young, but the Jayhawks played so well down the stretch of the season it was a shocker.

Tom Keegan

1. TCU 62, Kansas 55 at Fort Worth, Feb. 6, 2013: Sure, it didn’t end a season because it didn’t occur in a tournament, but its sheer ugliness puts it at the top. A good team reflects the personality of its coach, and Kansas almost always does that by bringing aggressiveness, confidence and talent to the court. Bill Self never has had a team play a game at Kansas that was so different from his personality. On that bizarre night in Fort Worth, Texas, the Jayhawks were sluggish, timid, showed no confidence, no brains, no desire and lost to a really bad team.

2. Michigan 87, Kansas 85 in 2013 Sweet 16: The fact that one player, senior Elijah Johnson, was involved in so many bizarre plays that contributed to the collapse late in regulation and in overtime made this one sting so much.

3. Bucknell 64, Kansas 63 in 2005 NCAA Tournament: Bucknell was better than most knew going into the tournament — New York sports-talk radio host Mike Francessa predicted the upset with conviction — but more than the Bison were at work here. It was KU’s sixth loss in nine games. Injuries and bad chemistry were at play.

4. Bradley 77, Kansas 73 in 2006 NCAA Tournament: Somehow, KU managed to tie a very talented, experienced Texas team for a share of the Big 12 title and then hammered the Longhorns in the Big 12 tournament title game. And then, at the worst possible time, the Jayhawks showed their age and for the second year in a row were bounced in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

5. Northern Iowa 69, Kansas 67 in 2010 NCAA Tournament: UNI had tremendous difficulty with UNLV’s full-court pressure, but survived and advanced. By the time Kansas stepped out of character to apply a press that brought the Jayhawks back into the game, it was too late. Ali Farokhmanesh, going against conventional wisdom, jacked a three-pointer with a one-point lead and 37 seconds left, a play that symbolized his team’s bold, confident play that night. 

Matt Tait

1. VCU 71, KU 61 in 2011 Elite Eight: The VCU loss takes the cake for me because it, unlike the others, seemed to be the one that prevented KU from its next best shot at a national title. A win here would’ve put the Jayhawks into a weak Final Four, where they would’ve been the overwhelming favorite. Things just never seemed right during this one, as guys who normally knocked down shots misfired often, the top offensive options seemed to press from the start, and the bench looked tight. Add to that the fact that the 11th-seeded Rams shot nearly 50 percent from three-point land (12-of-25) and it was clear that it just wasn’t KU’s night.

2. Michigan 87, KU 85 in 2013 Sweet 16: Who knows if KU would have gone on to the Final Four or to a national title had it gotten past Michigan last March. But one thing is certain: The Jayhawks never should’ve lost this game. Up double digits with less than 3:00 to play and up eight with 1:51 left, KU fell victim to one of the worst fall-from-in-front losses in recent memory, which was made more painful by the fact that the top-seeded Jayhawks completely dominated the first 30 minutes.

3. Bucknell 64, KU 63 in 2005 NCAA Tournament: In the more than 70 years of the NCAA Tournament, KU has had plenty of tough losses. But many of them — Virginia in 1995, Arizona in 1997, Syracuse in 2003, etc. — at least came to well-known programs a little deeper in. This one, a first-round loss to the 14th-seeded Bison, will always be remembered as one of the worst because of the pure shock value associated with it.

4. Missouri 74, KU 71 at Columbia, Feb. 4, 2012: I know tournament losses sting more and linger longer, but I wanted to make my list mostly about games KU should have won. And there’s no doubt the Jayhawks should have won this one. Up eight (71-63) and in control with 3:21 to play, the Jayhawks never scored again and watched Missouri rip off an 11-0 run that stole what — for now at least — was the final Border War game played in Columbia. Of course, that 19-point KU comeback a couple weeks later in Allen Fieldhouse took some of the pain out of this one.

5. TCU 62, KU 55 at Fort Worth, Feb. 6, 2013: All you need to know about this one is that even Bill Self thought it may have been the worst performance by a KU team in the more-than-100-year history of Kansas basketball. KU shot 29.5 percent and scored just 13 points in the first half, against, statistically, one of the worst teams in the history of the Big 12.

Jesse Newell

1. Bucknell 64, KU 63 in 2005 NCAA Tournament: Former KU coach Roy Williams always was able to avoid the first-round upsets, and that’s why this one in Bill Self’s second year came as such a shock. With only five scholarship players, the Bison took down the preseason No. 1 team in a stunner. Little-known fact: The band that filled in and played Bucknell’s fight songs that day? Northern Iowa.

2. Northern Iowa 69, KU 67 in 2010 NCAA Tournament: Another preseason No. 1 whose season ended abruptly. With only two losses all season, this Jayhawks team also was the consensus top team at the end of the season and the favorite to win it all. A pair of unexpected threes from 7-footer Jordan Eglseder, though, started the game unexpectedly, and Ali Farokhmanesh’s gutsy late three provided one of the NCAA Tournament’s most memorable shots.

3. VCU 71, KU 61 in 2011 Elite Eight: This one stung KU fans most because of the circumstances. After a flurry of upsets, the Jayhawks were easily the best team left in the tourney, only needing wins over mid-majors VCU and Butler to advance to the national title game. VCU’s run-and-gun style bothered KU, though, and the Rams used a 39-15 first-half run to take the lead for good.

4. Michigan 87, KU 85 in 2013 Sweet 16: This is the type of game that Self teams usually don’t lose. Holding a 72-62 lead with the ball and 2:30 left, KU had a 99.4-percent of winning, according to Ken Pomeroy’s statistical formula. Turnovers, defensive breakdowns and an unbelievably deep three from Michigan’s Trey Burke all contributed to the Jayhawks giving up the lead.

5. Bradley 77, KU 73 in 2006 NCAA Tournament: Though the Braves were underseeded as a No. 13, this was Self’s second straight first-round loss and led to many questions about his postseason-coaching ability. Though that KU team was young (and won an NCAA title two years later), the loss led to some panic, as Self was just 3-3 in NCAA Tournament games at KU with two more first-round losses than Williams had in 15 seasons.


Adam Gerval 9 years, 1 month ago

What a sadistic article. These conversations seem to frequently occur at the bar....but ouch.

Benz Junque 9 years, 1 month ago

Anyone involved in producing this article should be fired. Ridiculous.

Phoggy_Notion 9 years, 1 month ago

sorry LJW, but this article feels like a kick in the nutz.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 1 month ago

Glad I came late to the party and the bar is closed

Rock_Chalk_NYC 9 years, 1 month ago

Folks, its a series of articles...

Yes, this was very painful but seriously just don't read it...

More important question???

Is Bill wearing the same suit in all of those losses? Hmmmmm?? Now I gotta go check what he was wearing in 2008 LOL!

KUFan90 9 years, 1 month ago

"...shouldn’t we at least be able to rehash those losses in a series of stories that mostly remembers the good times?"


Jack Jones 9 years, 1 month ago

WHY??? There's got to be something more interesting to occupy your brains ~~ you even acknowledge the "waste of time" component. And, the obvious answer to your inane, rhetorical question ~ "shouldn't we at least be able to rehash these losses...........?" ~~ HELL, NO!!! A pretty sorry piece of journalism, fellows.

Joe Ross 9 years, 1 month ago

Only Jesse has it right. I mean yes...the way we lost the Michigan game was horrible. But at least it was a program whose name on the front of their jerseys people recognized. Not to mention Michigan was at one point in the season ranked number 1 in the country, and they had a few players on the roster who were pro-caliber. This is miles better than the combination of surprise and embarrassment in losing to teams like Northern Iowa, Bucknell, and Bradley.

Jesse Johnson 9 years, 1 month ago

Exactly my thoughts. KU 2010 was ranked #1 basically all season and we didn't make it out of the second weekend, and it was an unknown who knocked us out. KU 2005 was another team with high expectations and the season ends with a first round loss to an unknown. Bradley is another unknown but the expectations weren't nearly as high for that young team. VCU was an unknown, but the loss occurred in the Elite 8, so at least we had a good tournament run leading up to the loss. Michigan was anything but an unknown, in fact they were ranked higher than us in the final AP poll leading into conf. tournaments. It just sucked how we lost that one, not so much that it was them who knocked us off.

Jesse Johnson 9 years, 1 month ago

Correction: I meant to say we didn't make it out of the first weekend in 2010.

texashawk10 9 years, 1 month ago

These lists are opinions, not definitive statements. Opinions cannot be right or wrong, but you can agree or disagree with an opinion and you agree with Jesse's opinion, not Jesse is right and everyone else is wrong.

Jonathan Briles 9 years, 1 month ago

Glad this article came before the one of our best wins. I don't know why some people are so upset with this article. You have to have some bad times to fully appreciate the good ones.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 1 month ago

Couldn't agree more. I thought it was interesting, and I think it will precede the best wins.

Dan Pawlowski 9 years, 1 month ago

Yea, lets dwell on the bad experiences of the past. If any of these players were currently playing for the Jayhawks and they could learn from these experiences it is one thing but to dwell for no good reason is pointless.

Jonathan Briles 9 years, 1 month ago

This article is part of a series. They are not dwelling on these losses they are completing a set of articles. There was a headline saying it was going to be a painful reminder. If you didn't want to go through it you should not have clicked into the article.

Doug Cramer 9 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for the naucious feeling. The Michigan game is too fresh...and still hurts...really bad.

wrwlumpy 9 years, 1 month ago

I can watch the end of the Michigan game and feel bad, but I still am in disbelief of what EJ did in the first half. He was our basketball guru that was outstanding against Kentucky in the championship game, the lights-out player against ISU with 37 pts plus the dunk, then to have what he did with the groin punch with high-def multiple replays of the cheapest shot ever replayed over and over broke my heart, for him and all KU fans.

Bryce Landon 9 years, 1 month ago

EJ may have done a lot of imbecilic things in that game against the Skunk-Weasels, but punching him in the nuts was not one of them, because he didn't do it. The Skunk-Weasel player flopped to make EJ's move look worse than it was. Hell, the Skunk-Weasels were flopping the whole damn game, which is one reason why there were able to hang around as long as they did. Shows the kind of character they and their coach have when they have to resort to cheap tricks like flopping instead of playing the game like men.

Suzi Marshall 9 years, 1 month ago

Couldn't LJW omit this article? Why restrict this heartbreaking chapte to only Self? For the past 30 years the season has ended in massive heartbreak, except twice. For that matter., we can include the Allen ('53, '54 ...), Harp (UNC - '57 with Wilt), Owens (UTEP, UCLA....). I'll never recover from the Syracuse, Duke, AZ or MI games. Most hearbreaking KU losses:

  1. UNC '57 - Harp
  2. Syracuse '03 - Williams
  3. AZ '97 (?) - Williams
  4. VCU '11 - Self

For the most part, the Self heartbreaks have come with inferior talent, relative to other Kansas teams. Kansas could have +20 Championships. We have all learned to deal with heartbreak, hope for the best, and enjoy Kansas basketball at all times.

David Brown 9 years, 1 month ago

The Arizona loss!!! KU clearly was the best team that year---Vaughn, Hasse, LaFrentz, Pollard, and of course Pierce (if my memory is correct). Only loss was at Missouri, in Norm's annual national championship game. I believe Arizona beat three #1 seeds in the NCAA tourney to win it that year. They just got hot when it counted most, but KU was the class of the nation over the long-haul of the season.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 1 month ago

Your memory is correct on '97. The only consolation is AZ won it all with at least 2 future pros on that team. Turns out we lost to a good team.

Michael Luby 9 years, 1 month ago

Thanks to Elijah for the most recent heartbreaker.

Phoggy_Notion 9 years, 1 month ago

its never on just one player. ~Be better than that

Michael Luby 9 years, 1 month ago

True enough Phoggy. But, EJ did have more than his fair share of it.

Jack Jones 9 years, 1 month ago

Like the LJW writers ~ you just can't give it a rest Do you feel better, or worse?

Bryce Landon 9 years, 1 month ago

Most of the time I would say yes. But not this time. EJ single-handedly undermined a solid effort by the rest of the team.

milehighhawk 9 years, 1 month ago

Next week: a list of top 5 ex-girlfriends who hit the lottery.

Jack Jones 9 years, 1 month ago

"Beautiful subject" ~ pun (sort of) intended. Well said.

hailtoku 9 years, 1 month ago

By Gary Bedore, Tom Keegan, Jesse Newell, Matt Tait

Really? No one wants to be a man and say who actually wrote this?

Lash 9 years, 1 month ago

hailtoku agree. Why write it. Didn't read it. Embarrassed by it.

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 1 month ago

5.9 games lost per year average over 10 years! That's outrageous!

David Brown 9 years, 1 month ago

Agreed. That stat just jumps out. The losses hurt, but that's sports: there can only be one winner. So glad Coach Self is here at Kansas. He keeps the program winning.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 1 month ago

These " painful reminders " never happened. I have rejected them and put them out of my memory and now I will close my eyes tight and put my hands over my ears.

Blah, blah, blah, blah.....sticks and stones can break my bones.

Brian Mensch 9 years, 1 month ago

Farokhmanesh is still the dreaded "F-Bomb" in my household.

hotrodm 9 years, 1 month ago

Sorry to say, But Coach Self is to blame for the Michigan loss. He had several opportunities to put Tharpe in for E.J. and didn't. Coach should have had the guys foul Burke at half court and not allow the three to be shot. Did Coach Self not remember his 2008 team playing Memphis for the national championship? Mario would have never been able to shoot the tying 3 if Memphis would have fouled Collins and sent him to the line.

LngTimeFan 9 years, 1 month ago

Off topic but having to answer the dumbest questions before being able to read articles on this site is very irritating. Whomever came up with the question idea is an idiot!

BainDread 9 years, 1 month ago

As others have pointed out, there is a simple solution to this issue. Download and enable the free browser add-on "Ghostery". Problem solved. You will never see the questions again, plus you can block hundreds of other trackers that you don't even know are reporting your browsing habits. Should work with Firefox, Chrome, IE, Safari and Opera browsers.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 9 years, 1 month ago

So, again......

Really? No football news? Nothing but reflection on KU basketball's biggest upsets?

We really are a basketball-only institution.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 1 month ago

I'll be bold and say it, the football team winning or losing does little to me. When I was a student in the 80's it was something to do Saturday afternoons. I remember walking past the Oklahoma fan section during our annual beatdown by them and telling them to wait til basketball season.

I did jump on the bandwagon during the Orange Bowl season, and jumped off opening game of the next season when, if memory serves correctly, we blew a winnable game against South Florida.

Others will point out to just go to the top of the page and click football.

Gene Jackson 9 years, 1 month ago

Did not read the article - do not want to see it again - a waste of ink or I should say space on computer

VaJay 9 years, 1 month ago

There's nothing like waking up in the morning and getting a nice kick in the stomach...

Can there be a follow up to this soon, like biggest wins, so my whole week isn't a downer??

Matt Tait 9 years, 1 month ago

The next three weeks will all be much more enjoyable for you guys... Best wins, best comebacks, best quotes.

I know nobody likes reading about these L's but the series was designed to look back at Self's 1st 10 years in Lawrence and not mentioning the bad times — of which there have not been many — would be irresponsible.

Just wanted you to know that better topics are coming next week...

Steve Gantz 9 years, 1 month ago

But the better topics will make the pessimists complain that all this paper does is kiss KU's behind!

REHawk 9 years, 1 month ago

Good point, wissox. I have rarely read so much whining.

Boouk 9 years, 1 month ago

  1. VCU 2011
  2. UNI 2010
  3. TCU 2013
  4. Michigan 2013
  5. Bradley 2006

TheBoHawk 9 years, 1 month ago

TCU shouldn't even be on this list...(or worst :) it should be 5th... yes, I was certainly the worst regular season loss, I would rank losing to UK in the championship worse than this loss, simply for the weight of it... that TCU junk was a 2 week long fluke fever...we ended up as a 1 seed in the NCAA and won the Big XII tourney to boot.

Robin Smith 9 years, 1 month ago


TCU was a poor performance, yes, but it wasn't sad or painful, didn't mean anything, and was almost certainly due to a very calculated coaching decision (hint hint: compare shot distribution to every other game for the entire season, and remember the quotes from Self preceding the game re guards)

Bryce Landon 9 years, 1 month ago

I still can't believe Self didn't have the team ready for the Horned Frogs - a team that was winless in the league until that night. Why doesn't he accept more personal responsibility for not having his team locked and loaded than he does?

Stu Van Gorp 9 years, 1 month ago

How do they say, those ignoring history are destined to repeat it? Motivation and resolve suffer in complacency. I'm not so sure highlights of these games shouldn't occasionally thunder over the pre-game P.A. at AFH. Especially for some youngsters who believe their fans in thinking they just might even be bulletproof. Thanks for the therapy session gentlemen, Now we can move on.

hawksince51 9 years, 1 month ago

Like many, I did not enjoy this article but I did read it along with the comments. As they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And starting with the 1953 loss to Indiana in the NC game I have become one strong old SOB.
IMHO, only Bedore got it pretty much right because in my mind you cannot compare losses during the regular season to those that keep you from getting a shot at an NC. I would put the VCU loss as number one because that was an NC we could very well have won. That moves this year's Meechigan loss to number 2 and I would agree with the remainder of Bedore's picks. Since someone insists on bringing up football on a basketball forum, I put the 1968 Orange Bowl loss to Penn State as the worst ever loss due to a double screw up by a coach. First Pepper did not kick the extra point length field goal on 4th down that would have iced the game and then the infamous 12 man defense.

741hawk 9 years, 1 month ago

As solid the Jayhawk reputation is . . . think of the near misses in NC games -- Indiana, North Carolina, Syracuse -- that could have / should have been victories.

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago


Part 1

"The greater the head coach, the more frequent the heart-breaking losses occur, because the great coach is playing for conference titles and is in the Madness most seasons, where such losses can occur; that each opposing team and coach gives the great coach's teams their best shots contributes also."

"You will know a truly great head coach at the University of Kansas, when he wins 84% of his games and 9 conference titles and a ring, and his successes continue to be under-reported and his failures continue to be over-reported by a national sports broadcasting media not only trolling for the most eyeballs, but also apparently attached to the teat of access to coaches and players allied with a dominant ShoeCo of the time, which he is not contracted with."

"You will know a head coach is a great champion, when his team rallies from 8 down to beat a reputedly "wrong way" head coach fielding a team suffused with ineligibles afraid to take their own SATs, and after the brilliant come from behind win, the talking heads from a network talk about the reputedly "wrong way" losing coach, instead of the great champion succeeding brilliantly, while doing it the right way."

"You will know a head coach is a pretender to greatness, when he is apparently given overwhelming superiority in OAD talent for several seasons in a row apparently by an apparently dominant axis of the ShoeCo/Summer Game/Agency complex and wins only one ring, and then only because the team it beats for the ring must play two of its five starting non Mickey D players with severe injuries (a knee requiring surgery and an ankle injury so severe the lock down defender can barely slide) and still makes a game of it."

"You will with a great head coach feel the sting of the terrible, season ending losses at times more than the sweet joy of glorious wins, because built into the structure of the game are the probabilities that many must lose the Madness, so that one may win."

"To play well and lose a big game to a respected rival with more talent hurts, but is no disgrace."

"To lose a big game to a hated revival with less talent is worse than being mounted from behind repeatedly by an aroused Komodo Dragon."

"Next is there for everyone, but only the great go there as swiftly as possible after hard losses."

"Coaches like Scott Drew are a dime a gross."

"To stretch a defense into leaving an open space 23 feet out for a long and athletic to impact within is better than setting a ball screen 27 feet out."

"Making a defender slide for 20 seconds is better than making a defender slide for only 15 seconds, though its benefits may not show up till ten minutes to go in the second half."

"A nut punch is not the same as intimidation."

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

Part 2

"Dunking forcefully and repeatedly on a defender often leaves him unable to have fulfilling sex with his significant other after a game and this will carry over into the second half of the home and home series."

"Getting better is not everything. No one thing is everything. But it is the only thing in the sense that without it others will always eclipse you by season's end and so you will end up as a coulda-woulda-shoulda."

"Love and sex have their places, but not on a basketball floor, unless, well, unless, well, even Sun Bate Tzu must not go certain places."

"There are those that say basketball is not vital to a life well lived, but those that live life without basketball have always seemed pauperized to me."

"If a tie in football were once said to be like kissing one's sister, a loss to the University of Missouri in the Madness would be like sex with a porcupine being roasted over a Bunson burner at a meth lab outside Cape Giradeau."

"A head coach that dumps you for a rival in a run for a ring, after saying he would not do so, is not to be trusted until he retires, but then should be praised for the good he did, though not until after a recruiting season is successfully completed."

"A block and an alteration after 15 seconds of sliding are better than 35 seconds of sliding."

"Referees that swallow their whistles asymmetrically must be treated as enemies tunneling under one's perimeter."

"When you are from a small media market, and broadcasters under report your successes and over report your failures, they are not only trolling for the most eye balls, but are also perhaps grinding the agenda of a hostile ShoeCo/Summer Game/Agency complex and perhaps the agenda of a gaming industry."

"When one respected sports broadcaster with a law degree to fall back on breaks ranks and blows the whistle on directors of referees reputedly directing their referees to modulate their foul calling to keep televised games from going too long, do not expect a single mainstream sports media professional to stick his, or her, neck out for him, because mainstream sports media professionals apparently don't want to risk their "access" and their career advancements in order to help clean up the game."

"It will apparerently take a paralyzing spinal injury in a National Finals for the NCAA, ESPN/CBS, the ShoeCos, and the gaming industry to make the game safe again for some of America's (and the world's) finest young men. Can there be any greater shame than this?"

(Note: "The Art of Basketball War" by Sun Bate Tzu is pretend. Some of Sun Bate Tzu's epigrams are tongue in cheek. Some are not. It is hoped a board rat will be able to tell the difference.)

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

Glad you asked. The General is now a strapping 6 month old just beginning to raise his right rear for relief, rather than persisting in the more delicate two legged squat. :-)

I love this dog and he reciprocates whenever he is not being seized with atavisms directed toward our cats.

He is bright because he was fully house broken by his fourth month.

He is extremely well behaved, except when I forget to keep him in fresh bones and he redirects the jaw energy into things of significant as occurred yesterday, when he chewed the shoelaces of my favorite pair of summer weight shoes. Grrrrrr!!

But all in all General Patton is a better dog than I am a master and I am ever so grateful to the dog god for bringing me such a wonderful mutt. Before the General, I was alotted two wonderful dogs in life--a mongrel in childhood and a pure bread Great Pyrennee with the standard issue twin dew claws per paw. After these two beloved dogs, I doubted I would rate another man's best friend during my time on this mortal coil. I am very dog-monogamous, you see, and I take their passings very personally and deeply. I thought my dog days were over. But the General was clearly sent to save me from myself.

741hawk 9 years, 1 month ago

We are three weeks away from picking up our second Golden --this time a male named Trubey for my Dad's lifelong-friend. Trubey was childhood friend, a fraternity brother, a KU grad and a life-long Jayhawk. He was extremely intelligent and witty.

Trubey complained about Roy's outline of the State of Kansas on the Field House Floor saying that it was just like Carolinas and that we should have the unique Jayhawk at center court. He even wrote a letter to the athletic department. When Bill debuted the Big Jay at center court, Trubey wrote, "Well, maybe not That Big!"

Intelligent and witty, our Golden Retriever named Trubey will wear crimson and blue!

Michael Luby 9 years, 1 month ago

May I suggest changing the komodo dragon reference to a Godzilla reference? Great and entertaining post btw.

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago


You know, I write fast and sometimes I sense something is not quite it in the moment and you certainly caught one. Alas, the editing link has closed and so you will have to trust me that your recommended substitution is made in my mind, even if I cannot make it on the screen. Thanks for helping me get better.

Rock Chalk!!

p2d2kuhawks 9 years, 1 month ago

Douche, Douche, Douche and Douche, Is this all your minds can come up with to write about this summer? Read the comments. Not a lot of support here for any of you. Surely all of you can do better than this. By the way Mr. Tait, keep writing about football. Don't get drug into douche articles like this.

LakeShawnee 9 years, 1 month ago

What? We never lose. We simply run out of time to come back.

p2d2kuhawks 9 years, 1 month ago

You guys should be embarrassed to post your name to this article. Or are you guys?

p2d2kuhawks 9 years, 1 month ago

And Mr. Newell, I cannot believe you are a part of this. OK, after thinking about it, I guess you have to do what your boss tells you to do. Sorry for you, because most of the time your writing and insight are great. Mr. Bedore, were you seriously on board with this, or was this all Keegan? Your an old fart like me, so I would think you should have some input. Or at least you should.

bigboypants 9 years, 1 month ago

The next article should be about the Bill Self's BEST WINS. That would certainly offset the bad taste left by this one.

Matt Tait 9 years, 1 month ago

It's coming. Next 3 weeks will include best games, best comebacks and best quotes.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 1 month ago

Best game probably wasn't even the Championship in '08, but rather that semifinal against UNC!!!! ESPECIALLY that 1st half if you could do best halves.

jgkojak 9 years, 1 month ago

Y'all need to grow up. Examining the losses helps you appreciate the success and understand Bill Self and his coaching style better.

There is a common thread to a couple of these-

Bucknell and Michigan - letting a Senior (Langford and Johnson) play who had no business playing. Langford due to injury and illness, Johnson due to boneheaded play after boneheaded play in the 1st half, should have been sat.

That said - I rank 'em based on how much the loss probably denied us a NC run- 1. VCU - hands down, we win the NC if we win this game 2. N Iowa - Get over this stumbling block and this team likely doesn't lose until the FF 3. Bucknell - it hurt. 4. Michigan - We easily beat FL, probably beat 'Cuse, and play in another NC game against a better team from KY.
5. TCU - I have to think that, had we pulled this game out, this team develops a little faster, Ej doesn't have his ego bruised so badly, and we probably hold on against Michigan

Jack Jones 9 years, 1 month ago

"examining the losses help you appreciate the success and......." Really? Maybe that's what it takes for you. Me? ~ absolutely zero connection.

JayHawkFanToo 9 years, 1 month ago

The absolutely, positively, no doubt about it worst loss by our team full of superstars was to Bobby Mo...oh wait...that was Kentucky..

I feel much better now.

jgkojak 9 years, 1 month ago

This article only works if tomorrow we have Self's Greatest Victories -

  1. 2008 NC Game
  2. 2008 N Carolina FF game
  3. 2012 Ohio State FF
  4. 2012 MU at home
  5. 2008 Davidson

Virgil_Caine 9 years, 1 month ago

Agreed, good list. The fact that 3 of your top 5 were consecutive games shows just how great of a title run we had. I'd be inclined to mention one of the Durant games at #6, probably part deux since it was for the conference tourney championship and we came back from such a huge deficit (I want to say 22, but not sure).

Hopefully the Greatest Victories article comes out soon. It's the least they can do for making us suffer through the memories of losses!

clevelandjayhawker 9 years, 1 month ago

There was an oklahoma game at home where Mario hit a floater with like 5 secs left to take the win, that was pretty sweet and a "coming of age" kind of feel that set the table for things to come. The game against texas we won (even though druant missed a few mins due to injury). the georgia tech new years day game. the oklahoma state win over lucas and company (05-06?), the iowa state game this year (both of them in the reg season), Purdue win last year (made it special so we could celebrate the missery loss even more) many great games.

Virgil_Caine 9 years, 1 month ago

Definitely VCU for me. Great, hungry team that had experience, depth and pride, but picked the worst possible time to be "off," and basically tripped on their shoelaces with a championship right in front of them.

I would go Bucknell next, simply because the team was preseason #1 with a senior class that had been to two Final Fours. The writing on the wall was there, though, and as Keegan mentions, something wasn't right with that group's chemistry down the stretch.

After that, I can't decide if UNI or Michigan sucked more. UNI was waaaay more unexpected, but we never had it put away - it was always just out of reach. Is it worse to lose to an inferior team that outplays you, or to outplay a worthy opponent, and then throw away the game when you've got it won? I really can't decide, but I definitely drank plenty of whiskey after both losses.

Bradley is forgivable, because the core of that team were freshmen and sophomores, and they delivered a national championship after one more heartbreaker to UCLA the next season. I would say that my forgiveness is based on hindsight, though, because losing in the first round two straight years really didn't sit well with me at the time.

It's never fun to leave the tournament early, and even losing to Georgia Tech in 2004 depressed me. UCLA hurt because we lost Julian and at the time thought we were losing Brandon too, but again, hindsight makes that sting much less. Losing to Kentucky in the championship was sad, but that run was so much fun I got over it pretty quickly. It's still hard to believe we were there, and actually had a shot at stealing the game towards the end.

Remember, the bitter in life makes the sweet so much better!

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 1 month ago

I can't say VCU because we were never close enough to feel like we might even win it :(

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 1 month ago

Also, with regards to the Bradley loss - I can take that one easier in retrospect in that I want to say they went on to beat Pitt the very next round as well.

KANSTUCKY 9 years, 1 month ago

Please defer future ignorant publications until after the open recruiting period.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 1 month ago

Surprising to me that Matt Tait doesn't have the Northern Iowa loss on there. Don't forget, for those of us who paid to go see that game we had to watch K-State advance against Jimmer & BYU the very next game.

Mark Lindrud 9 years, 1 month ago

Don't be upset about the article, teams lose, grow, learn and get better from losses. I bet tomorrow they do best wins and those whining will say it's a great article. Suck it up people seriously.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 1 month ago

  1. UNI 2010 - probably biased because I was actually there and my wife went to UNI

  2. Michigan 2013 - even just ONE made FT by Elijah and we STILL hold on by 1 pt. I think we would've made it to the Final Four, but then probably would've lost as of that point anyway.

  3. Bucknell 2005 - Just TOO EMBARRASSING!!!!

  4. VCU 2011 - Again, like I stated above...would've been higher, but NEVER felt like, after about 4 - 5 mins. into that game like we were going to win it the way it was going.....brief hope after having cut it from like 23 down to like 6 or something, but that went away and was built back up to double-digits.

5.TCU, reg. season in 2013 - didn't get to see it, but kept being stupefied when I kept checking the box score on-line.

Hawk8086 9 years, 1 month ago

I would go with:

  1. Michigan. We had that game and blew it in just about every way possible.
  2. VCU. Best chance since 2008 for a NC.#2 because we never really threatened to win the game.
  3. Bucknell. Even with injury/illness/chemistry issues, we should never have lost this game. A #3 seed does not lose in the first round often.
  4. UNI. A #1 losing in the 2nd round deserves to be on the list. 5.Missouri. Because we had it in our grasp and because it was Missouri. Beats out Bradley because, I believe, that loss is more forgiveable due to how young that team was. I was there, and when the team took the court in the 2nd half (after that flukey 1st half buzzer beater) you could tell we were beaten.

Self has had more than his share of tournament early exits. Some of the teams have looked tight. That said, if his 2nd 10 years mirrors his 1st 10..........I'll take it!

Jack Wilson 9 years, 1 month ago

1] VCU

2] UNI

3] Bucknell

4] Michigan


Anything not in the tourney doesn't have significant enough implications.

The loss to Kentucky was obviously the biggest in 2012. But the fact that we reached that point with lower expectations, thin bench, etc., tempers that from being a "sad" loss.

VCU is easily the worst in my book. No doubt. One game from the Final Four, then seeing what our competition would have been in the semis (Butler) and finals (UConn) .. that was a national championship on a silver platter.

KUfanInFlorida 9 years, 1 month ago

I think 2012 National title game was the worst. It was a heck of a come back cutting the deficit to 5. I wish we could have made a few more plays and win.

Hawk8086 9 years, 1 month ago

HEM, Might have to reconsider and remove Misery since it was not in the tournament. Those losses are easier to forget (maybe......but it's still Misery). Tournament loses seem to be more a part of history.......they do live forever.I'm still surprised you have Michigan at 4.....but everyone looks at situations differently.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 1 month ago

I wasn't at all embarrassed - taken aback - wrought with anxiety over the UCLA loss in '07. IF I recall we were the 1 them the 2, BUT the game was in San Jose, CA.

Janella Williams 9 years, 1 month ago

Give me a break you bunch of cry-babies! It's not going to hurt recruiting. It's good to remember the past, so we can try not to repeat it. Instead of whining feel blessed that there are so few losses to choose from. We all need to put on out big-boy/girl pants on! FYI, Keegs reflects my list the closest.

JayDocMD 9 years, 1 month ago

  1. VCU - I was there in San Antonio - PTSD ever since. And agree with HEM: this is number one because the NC was ours for the taking

  2. MICHIGAN - maybe this is higher because it's fresher... but HOW in the wild world of sports did we lose that game? Also felt we matched up favorably to advance against Florida & Syracuse and could have been playing in another NC game

  3. UNI - Again, was in OKC attending this total disaster. Hurts even more when the underdog makes dumb decisions down the stretch (yeah, I'm talking about you Ali) and don't have to pay for it.

  4. BUCKNELL- first round exits just can't happen at KU

  5. Any and all losses to MIZZERY

(no TCU - not a tourney game and I would file that more as embarrassing than sad)

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 1 month ago

Also, regarding the UNI loss - was a HOME GAME (From OKC) for one Xavier Henry in his farewell game as a Jayhawk.

Hawk8086 9 years, 1 month ago

Respectfully disagree. Michigan was bad because we had the game won. All we had to do was take care of the ball, make a free throw or two. In meltdown and we win. Instead........Complete meltdown.....we lost. We outplayed them the whole game and blew it, by doing everything wroing, in the last few minutes. Maybe for some, time will change the perception of how tough a loss this was.....not for me.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 1 month ago

WTF was agonizing about the UCLA loss?!?!?! That was a 1 losing to a 2 where I think the 2 might've even been favored due to the game being in their backyard (San Jose, CA).

I think UCLA even had more experienced players - more Sophs to Srs. Seemed like most of our team was Sophs with some Jrs..

Robert Robinson 9 years, 1 month ago

Wow, I thought I could handle this but after reading it I have that same pain in my chest as I had after watching those games. I would say Michigan hurt the most but I feel it is just because it was the most recent. UNI was probably the worst for me. I loved watching Aldrich and Collins play. I really thought Collins would start dropping bombs and getting to the line to pull the win. It didnt really hit me until about 5 minutes after it was over. On a good note, I left the party I was at, went to a different party and ended up meeting the girl I love today. Thanks UNI?

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

Now that is making the most of a loss!!!!

Rock Chalk!

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 1 month ago

You're counting in season losses and neither of the two games at KSU made the list! One ended our undefeated streak and the other we were just ranked #1 and got our teeth kicked in.

Bryce Landon 9 years, 1 month ago

Or how about the end of the 31-game win streak by KU over KSU in Allen?

rimrattler88 9 years, 1 month ago

Can't fathom a list where VCU and UNI aren't in the top 2.

texashawk10 9 years, 1 month ago

My list is a little different because there are a couple of games that I was at in person that weren't post season tournament games.

  1. UNI-2010, my senior year at KU and I almost got arrested at a Buffalo Wild Wings because a drunk Baylor fan (Baylor's game was on at the same time as KU's) was talking way too much crap trying to bait me. He ended up getting arrested for disorderly conduct.

  2. Texas-2006, This was my first trip to see KU play in Austin and College Gameday was there and it was a young KU team that had won 10 in a row and was steam rolling most of those teams, and Texas wins by 25 points. I was bummed out for a few days because of that stomping UT put on KU. I know I'll be the only person with this game on my list and I don't care.

  3. Michigan-2013, just the lack of composure by the senior leader of the team was baffling and Michigan getting lucky doesn't help either.

4 UCLA-2007, KU had already beaten Florida once that season in November and if they could've made a layup, KU would've had a very good shot at beating Florida in the semi's and then Ohio St. in the title game.

  1. VCU-2011, Another season KU very possibly could've won a title if they could've made a shot. VCU didn't shoot very well, but KU as a team shot worse as Marcus Morris was the only player for KU that realistically had a good game.

Honorable mention

Bucknell-2005, Yes that was a talented team, but that was also a team that didn't play very well down the stretch so this wasn't the shocker to me that some of these other ones were.

Bradley-2006, A very young team going through its growing pains in March although it would've been much easier to swallow if it had been Pitt in the round of 32 instead of Bradley.

Baylor-2013, Another game I was at and KU had a chance to win the Big 12 outright, OSU beat KSU earlier in the day and KU just came out flat as could be with no energy or desire to win the game. They looked like a team satisfied with sharing the title with KSU which is why KSU will never be the rival to KU that Missouri is/was because if it was Missouri that KU was tied with, I guarantee KU goes out with mouths foaming looking for blood so Missouri would have nothing to claim like KSU did this past year.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 1 month ago

I always enjoy the responses when posters don't want to talk about this side of Bill Self's resume.

It is pretty amazing that of Bill Self's 59 losses 18.6 percent (11) of those losses have been to supposedly "Mid-Majors". Very interesting stat. What's even more amazing is that it's happened 40 percent of the time when Kansas is in the NCAA Tournament the last 10 years.

The VCU game KU was never in the game. KU just got manhandled, didn't pay attention to the scouting report and just got beat like a drum by chucking up 3's.

The UNI game, UNI controlled the game/tempo from start to finish. Kansas never made adjustments except the last 3 minutes of the game where they were in desperation mode and at least had a chance to win it until...Ali................

The Bucknell game was the battle of the wits between the old regime and the new regime. Old regime won out and left the lasting marks from the Roy Williams era.

The Bradley game for some reason I just don't mind. Everybody outside of KU nation will say it's a bad loss, but KU was playing an experienced Bradley squad and KU had a bunch of Freshman.

For me though Michigan was the worst because KU controlled the game from the tip for 37 minutes. The coaching staff, Bill Self, and EJ had a completely meltdown brainfart.

VCU use to be the worst for me because it was Elite 8 game, but KU got manhandled by Shaka's team.

What it all boils down to is that KU has had some pretty big mishap over the years in the NCAA Tournament and I am hoping that Self and Kansas can knock down some of those "Bad Losses" in the NCAA tournament to help support Self's impeccable regular season record.

REHawk 9 years, 1 month ago

I stand with you on that Michigan "meltdown brainfart."

Steve Gantz 9 years, 1 month ago

Denial thy name is KoolKeithFreeze, p2d2kuhawks, wheatwave, moonwalkmafia66, jackdavid, boulderhawk, jayhawkmarshall, hailtoku.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 1 month ago

I turned off the UNI game at half time, so I guess that's my worst. I turned off the TCU game shortly after the half, 2nd worst. VCU because of what was at stake probably should be the worst, but I didn't turn it off because there was hope, at least in my mind. Michigan would maybe the worst for me except it was Good Friday and a good reminder that it's just a game. The most agonizing win was definitely Davidson. The only moment of that game I enjoyed was when the kids 3 pointer missed at the buzzer.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 1 month ago

Wow! I don't see how you turn off the UNI game - I don't think they were EVER down more than like 12 or 13...yet you kept watching the VCU game.....down by as much as something like 23 or 25 pts. & NEVER got closer than like 6 the rest of the way. I think in the UNI game they got back to within like 1 or 2 even.

I felt EXACTLY the opposite. I felt like if there was another 1/2 a minute or minute to the UNI game, that KU DEFINITELY wins. I feel like if there was another 1/2 minute or a minute in the VCU game they may very well have lost by 18 instead of 10!!!

Steve Gantz 9 years, 1 month ago

I think it was that UNI came in not having defeated a ranked team all year, some were saying they were dangerous, I was saying that's ridiculous, the game came on and I was eating lots of crow. VCU had proven themselves as worthy of getting to the final 8 and so I stayed tuned. Not saying I was right or wrong, just the way i felt those games! Glad we're never gonna lose another one like those!

Pbbut 9 years, 1 month ago

The VCU loss was a killer, so many things went right to be in that position and we went out and played like it was the first time we'd ever seen a basketball. Losing when you get beat is always tough, but when you play without effort or brains...confounding.

Another tournament loss that hurts is the loss in '86 to Duke in the Semis. We'd beaten 'Ville twice that year. That '86 team is still my favorite...Manning, Kellogg, Dreiling, Thompson, Hunter, Marshall, et al. Great talent. (If the 3-pt. shot starts in 86 instead of 87, KU goes undefeated.)

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 1 month ago

I was just going to say - some Roy era losses actually hurt more for me than Self-era losses.

Worst one of all time for me was DEFINITELY the '97 team to Arizona in the Sweet 16.

There is NO DOUBT in my mind that, that was our best team (or at least most deserving of a championship relative to the other NCAA Div. I teams at the time anyway) & still irked & felt like 'zona G's got away with a lot of hacks on steals! :( That team was 34-1 with the only loss being in 2OT at Columbia on a prayer prior to that game!!!

'03 loss to Syracuse in the Championship game probably = 2nd most (again ahead of any Self-era loss).

DanR 9 years, 1 month ago

Let's face it, the blame for every one of these "worst losses" lies solely on the shoulders of Brady Morningstar.

Woody Cragg 9 years, 1 month ago

Just be hard on em! Jack would probably say the same thing, but, dang it, he's off!

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

"Awful Losses? Not Many in My Book with Bill"

Part 1

Getting knocked out early, or by lesser teams, outside of hurting, means little to me, since Self always gambles and sends them out flat for the lesser of two opponents in each of the three two-game tournies that comprise the Madness. Upsets are a given in his approach, when he is trying to make sure he saves the amped performance for the tougher of two opponents. The strategy is sound. When it works, we go far. When it backfires, well, its the price you pay for maximizing your chances of winning both games.

With the above in mind, the only losses that really sting are those that occur, when we've basically got a clear path to the ring, because of how good we are and because of upsets removing those that could beat us even at our best.

  1. VCU--wasn't one of our best teams necessarily, but things fell right and it was a clear favorite, so getting knocked out stung like a scorpion bite and nearly killed me. Self should have had two rings after that season.

  2. Michigan--Except for point guard, we were sharply better. We were tougher. We were more experienced. We had a better system. We had a better coach.The only thing we didn't have was a functional point guard, and as fate would have it, Michigan had one of the the best shooting point guards in NCAA history--Trey Burke. Burke smoked us from over 30 feet out repeatedly. Burke was just an awesome player that second half. Louisville was all that stood between us and a ring had we taken care of our ten point lead against Michigan. Louisville was very beatable by the kind of team we were. They had the kind of bigs that Jeff usually feasted on. Because Slick'd'Ville's bigs were cheap shotters and not XTReme Muscle types, Kevin and Perry would have handled them well. And they had no answer for Ben, and Trav could lock down whatever they had on the perimeter. EJ and Naa would have fought their point to a wash with all the help Trav and Ben could supply. And even when EJand and Naa would have gotten in trouble, Big Jeff was waiting to block and alter. Last season was horrible waste of a golden opportnunity. Self should have had three rings after last season.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 1 month ago

How would we have done against Cuse's zone though had we made it that far?

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

"What about Classic Point Guard Play?"

Part 1

Alright slayr, you are scoring some points with me here, reluctant though I may be. I have been a long time lover of long guards, yet your argument about the physiques and mentalities of short PGs makes some sense regarding the imperative of needing to play effectively on the X and Y axis no matter what.

Self likes long point guards for defensive reasons. He likes a point guard that is helping the wings instead of needing the wings to give help. And Self is right that it does lead to exceptional defenses, particularly in the three point era when denying the trey is crucial to perimeter defense. And Self loves his long bigs that can cover for the blow bys by short, quick opposing point guards on our longer PGs.

But your point has merit: long point guards, unless they are exceptional ones like Derek Rose, and even he was up and undered by short Sherron in the '08 Final, the long point guards seem to trade off some significant penetration and distribution function on offense, despite all the perimeter defense they bring.

And I think our teams HAVE suffered from some of the more restricted distributive capacities of our long point guards.


You may be selling Self a bit short, when you say he favors long point guards over short ones.

What I think Self's tenure indicates is that when he hasn't got a credible short point guard on the squad that is ready to perform, or or that is ready to play well on both ends, THEN he favors long point guards for the defensive benefits they bring.

Looking back, here are the PGs I recall.

Aaron Miles, at 6-1, fit the mold you recommend. Self inherited him, but Self went with him whole hog.

Next, Russ Rob, at 6-2 came, but had to sit a season when he refused to go in a game and play mop up minutes.

The 6-2 Russ Rob became Self's PG, when Mario Chalmers, recruited as a PG, struggled early at the point and Self found himself in the difficult position of not really having a true 2 guard on the club much of the time that Russ Rob and Chalmers were there. So: Self was forced into playing not one but two 6-2 guards and Chalmers moved to the 2, because he was the better trey shooter.

Remember that from Self's first season, while some may call these guys not classic PGs, he played 6-1 Miles, a classic PG, and 6-2 Russ Rob, a PG in high school, as his PGs, and constantly worked high school PG 6-0 Jeff Hawins into the mix as both a PG and yet another short shooting guard.

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

Part 2

Who enters the picture next? 5-11 Sherron Collins, who was nothing in high school if not a classic PG, albehe a highly muscular one. He was a dominant personality and a ferocious competitor who could penetrate, shoot the trey, but was average at distributing. Still, he was a pure PG.

Now here is what I think happened. Three issues converged to produce the recent tendancy toward longer PGs, and none of them are a product of Self not wanting a classic, short PG.

First, Self's classic point guard in the hand, Sherron, had the peculiar characteristic of being to good no any classic PG recruit wanted any part of trying to beat him out. At the same time, Sherron was never sufficiently talented for the NBA to take him early. So: for three seasons at least, the odds were against Self signing a classic short point guard.

Second, Self had struggled mightily for his first 4-5 years at KU without a true 2 guard to guard the opposing teams tall shooting guard. This was defensive Achilles Heel that was finally exposed in the loss to UCLA, when even a great defender like long-armed, short-necked, 6-2 Mario Chalmers simply could not contain true 2 6-4 Aaron Afflalo.

As a result, Self went after and signed a bunch of longer guards that could swing between the 2 and 3 as needed like J.R. Gidden, Mychah Downs, Travis Releford, Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed. Self was determined never to be short handed at the 2 again.

Along the way,Self was trying for many classic PGs and failing to sign them. He lost some because of the scandals, not doubt. Others did not like playing behind Sherron. Self even offered that little toe head from Oklahoma who was pals with Wille Warren, and I will never understand why that clown didn't come to Lawrence. And on and on. Self has been trying for a lot of classic PGs and crapping out,mostly I think because of a combination of the scandals and an experience player like Sherron, or Tyshawn being ahead.

But along the way, Self finally did land the creme de la creme of classic point guards in Josh Selby,when Selby backed out of the black hole of Bruce Pearle's UTenn, but then Self found himself sideways without a credible big time 3. He had started Brady one season, had good luck, but did not want to do that again, if he did not have to. So: he had to decide. Should he put PG Josh at PG, where he would be gone in one season, or should he try Tyshawn at the PG, who he could hang onto for twos seasons, and play Josh at the 3, since Josh was a physically tough, explosive shooter and slasher, too.

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

Part 3

I suspect Self was leaning toward at least giving Josh a shot at the point, but then two things happened. Josh was TO prone. And it was going to be a month, maybe more, maybe even not at all, before Josh would be able to play. Self had an incredibly tough call to make. He gave the PG to the guy that would be their two seasons, but also planned to play Josh on the perimeter and do a lot of Point Guard-like things...until...until Josh blew a wheel and the best laid plans of mice and coaches went astray.

Along the way, Self picked up a five star high school point guard, Elijah Johnson, who in highschool was apparently a classic PG about 6-0 tall. Then EJ suddenly proceeded to grow to 6-2 and then seemingly to 6-4. Self's classic PG transmogrified unexpectedly into a long guard. Now the really strange thing about this is that EJ never really grew to 6-4, because the pros measured him at 6-2!! So, as it turns out, Self's long point guard, Elijah Johnson, wasn't so long afterall. He started out a classic PG, who grew to 6-2, not 6-4, and it was in fact his injuries that hampered his PG career and not him not being a classic PG, because in fact he was once a classic PG.

Self was so desperate to get a classic point guard that could distribute, that he signed Naadir Tharpe, who it turns out was defensively challenged, and may still be, if he has to play with inexperienced wing defenders that are anything less than lock down types, and without a human erasure in the paint.

With Naadir laboring just to keep from being blown by on defense, Self put a full court press on Cat Barber, yet another classic point guard. Alas, when the Cat seemed close to trapped and signed, a rumored property issue arose and Self appeared to withdraw from Cat Barber.

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

Part 4

No matter, Self found another true, short point guard named Frank Mason. He had only been good enough to sign with Towson State the year before, but reputedly transformed into a demon and so backed out of his commitment to Towson, and then proceeded to impress Self and so sign with the Jayhawks.

The point of all this is, slayr, that Self has been trying non stop to get classic point guards into Lawrence, and whenever he has had one ever remotely qualified to play they have played and played as soon as they could stay on the floor defensively.

Further, a lot of Self's supposedly long guards have turned out in many cases to be point guards pretending to be 2 guard, and not a bunch of 6-4 Aaron Aflalo's playing the point, or the 2.

So: while I think you are making an increasingly persuasive point about Self needing a great classic PG, and perhaps right in your hopes for Naa and Frank to restore some traditional point guard play to the KU team this season, I think Self has not so much preferred the kind of guard play and players at the 1 and the 2 that he has had, as he has been forced to find a way to "make it work" until the fickle fates of recruiting break more favorably his way.

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

Part 2

3.Kentucky in the 2012 Finals--contrary to popular belief we could have won that game with any luck at all, despite the overwelming level of talent UK possessed, for UK had one Achilles Heel. They were only six deep and that played perfectly into our hands, because we had learned to play with only seven, and they were green long and bouncy and had to get into transition to really hurt us, as they did that first half. In half court, Jeff shut Anthony off. And the only guy that hled huge MUA was Kidd-Gilchrist on one-ankled Travis. Our team was used to sand bagging games and coming back to play for the win with 10-7 minutes to go. UK getting off the leash that first half showed how awesome they were, because we had a great defensive interior in Thomas and Jeff, though none of us yet understood what a fabulous player Jeff really was until the following season. We were starting three draft choices and we had a lot of experience, though little depth. But the pieces fit beautifully together and formed what I have called many times now the "greatest team" I ever saw (not the most talented, but the team that made the most of what it had). All it took to beat green UK was a "great team" hitting on all cylinders. Such was not to be that night. EJ was playing with a knee that would soon have surgery. Travis was playing on a long injured ankle that had forced him into an entirely horizontal game against a tall, great leaping menace--Kidd-Gilchrist.

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

Part 3

Tyshawn, maybe the greatest MUA KU has ever had at point guard the second half of his senior season, went into a shooting slump in the Big 12 conference tournament and never came out of it in the Madness, so UK's pesky little OAD Mickey D did not have to respect Ty's shot on one end, and so having to play little defense on one end, could afford to run Ty ragged on the other. But despite all of these disadvantages, Team Rope-a-Dope, aka KU aka the "greatest team" I ever saw, still managed to stage a come back in the second half that was just a few bunnies and a bad call or two away from a pulling off what had become its second half signature come from behind to win it at the end victory. Ralster has written convincingly a number of times about how close KU came to coming back and beating UK's six OAD Mickey Ds without a single OAD, or Mickey D, on KU. This makes this loss perhaps the greatest missed opportunity of all, because we had precisely the right kind of team, at precisely the right moment (the national finals), and we had come back from Calipari's first half blitzkrieg strategy and were about to weigh in with our superior team work and our superior shot blocker. KU was so close to getting the ring. Slayr has argued to the contrary. Slayr has argued that Cal called off the dogs the second half; that UK could have run up the score had it wanted to. I almost always agree with slayr on such things, but not this time. UK went only six inexperienced players deep. Cal knew that the worst thing he could do was let his green team get into a close game down and so find themselves in a game where teamwork and experience would be vital to win it. Seeking to avoid this situation at all costs, Cal obviously amped his team out through the roof the first half and told them to leave it all out there that first half, and milk the lead the second half. Bill Self had done the same thing to UNC in the semifinals in 2008. It worked for Bill in 2008. And it worked for Cal in 2012. But I will go to my grave believing the only reason it worked against a KU team that turned the second half come back into an art form is that: a) EJ needed knee surgery; b) Travis had to play with only one good ankle; and c) the one guy we could not afford to have go in a shooting slump-Ty--was in one. But coulda, woulda, shoulda, didn't. God,how I hate that loss to Kentucky.

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

Part 4

4.TCU in 2013--that is the only other loss I would put on this list; that was the single worst display of basketball I have ever seen by a KU team having watched with recollection since 1960. It was horrendous. Bill Self called it the worst display of basketball ever put on in the 100 plus year of KU basketball and I have no reason to doubt him. I will always believe there was some cause behind the scenes that caused that performance, something more than what Self called a "funk." A funk does not begin to describe what happened to that team. Whatever, that was the worst, most disgraceful loss I can recall that occurred outside the agonies of missing opportunities for rings in the tournament. That game should go down in infamy.

That's it. There have only been three big, savage season ending losses for me in the Self era, and one incomparable, inexplicable, mid season disgrace that deserve enumeration. The rest just come with the territory of developing teams over the course of a season, and with Self strategy of saving amped performances in the tournament for the tougher of the two opponents that must be vanguished in order to survive and advance all the way. It does no good to beat a lesser team with a peak performance and then lose to greater team that a peak performance could have beaten. The flat performance is for the lesser opponent. The peak performance is for the greater opponent. Its the Self way, and coaches all across America are imitating his approach; that's why the upsets keep coming early in the tournament. That's why Georgetown fell early this season.

Rock Chalk!!!

Bryce Landon 9 years, 1 month ago

I've long had an issue with how well Coach Self gets his teams prepared for inferior competition, and the four losses to I-AA schools in the NCAAs (Bucknell, Bradley, N. Iowa and VA Commonwealth), as well as regular-season losses to Richmond and Nebraska (03-04), Nevada (05-06), Oral Roberts and DePaul (06-07), Massachusetts (08-09), Tennessee (09-10), Davidson (11-12), and of course Texas Christian (12-13), along with sluggish starts where we fall behind ten points before digging our heads out, makes me wonder how well his motivational tactics work. Say what you want about Roy Williams and how many times he failed to deliver the national title to Kansas, but he would never have lost the games Bill Self has lost.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 1 month ago

Um....pretty sure that Roy teams did have losses to Richmond, Long Beach State, and WAY MORE conference losses.

JayHawkFanToo 9 years, 1 month ago

There are only three divisions in College Basketball: Div. I, II and III; there is no such thing as I-AA schools. Only Div. I schools participate in the NCAA Tournament.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 1 month ago


I don't think we were "about to come back" on UK in '12.

I would argue that they let up - thinking it was "in the bag".

VaJay 9 years, 1 month ago

I think much more likely than 2012 is 1986, where if Duke didn't get away with an offensive foul not being called when they rebounded on Cedric Hunter's back for a late game-changing bucket - we win that Semi and cruise in the final. We had such a great starting five that year...

Steve Gantz 9 years, 1 month ago

Something like a 28-14 foul count in that game didn't help either. Took Danny right out of the game. I don't recall the specific foul you mentioned. As far as cruising in the final we'd beat Louisville twice that season by narrow margins so I'd doubt we would have cruised in the finals.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 1 month ago

OF course it was painful losing to syracuse, but it doesn't quite fit the criteria of the article. That loss is still the worst loss since I've been with KU in the '80s.

Woody Cragg 9 years, 1 month ago

Why is it necessary to relive all this krap? This is Just insidious. Surely this is an intern culminating archives & not a real copy? Ya think? Don't fret, things will get better soon. Boot camp is on the horizon. Yeeeeaaaah! My hair is already hurting! Wonder if we have a Kevin Young on board this year that "Loves to run?"

Lex Valdez 9 years, 1 month ago

We cant forget about our Jayhawks and JoJo White stepping out of bounds (or did he???) vs Texas Western in66. Now i know why i can`t stand the movie Glory Road!

Bryce Landon 9 years, 1 month ago

I hate that movie too, and I'll never watch it.

Lance Hobson 9 years, 1 month ago

Georgia Tech in 2004 hurt, too. We got it to OT but couldn't bring it home. That would have gotten the monkey off Self's back in his very first year. VCU is by far the hardest because we had an easy road to the title after that. Morningstar was also talking trash before that game and then as usual couldn't make a shot. Tyrel Reed played very scared. It was just so disappointing watching us wilt like that to what should have been an overmatched team.

Tim Hill 9 years, 1 month ago

I guess Richmond Spiders coming in to AFH couldn't get a vote on seemed like the writers got a little lazy with this summer session of best of moments...seemed like they forgot a lot of big things early in his career...but i guess its all based on opinions!

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 1 month ago

1) VCU - We cut the lead to 2 around mid-second half and I had two tickets to the final 4 in my "shopping cart" just waiting for us to go ahead and pull away. Never happened. Luckily I didn't click "Submit" or else I'd have had 2 FF tickets that no one would have wanted to buy from me.

2) UNI - I left the house late in the 2nd half to pick up a girl (now my wife) on our first date. I was listing on the radio, while driving, and she was on the phone with me while she was watching the game telling me what was happening. Somehow I held my composure that night. It could have changed my future dramatically.

3) Bradley - The Hawks had been on a roll and I was so looking forward to putting the taste of Bucknell out of my mouth forever. It felt like we never had a chance in this one, though. They just kept hitting big shots every time we'd make a mini run.

4) Bucknell - I was watching from a room in the Wichita Marriott and almost had to buy them a new TV. Even though the Hawks were in a tailspin, Simien et al had no business losing to Bucknell. I just knew that shot was going in at the end...

5) Michigan - Just because we had the game all but wrapped up and I just knew that we had the best team in the field.

jayhawkliz 9 years, 1 month ago

Ouch! This article was painful to read.

Bucknell Bradley Michigan UNI VCU

One non-tournament loss was Oral Roberts in 07'

bogan79 9 years, 1 month ago

that whole statement is just silly...

bogan79 9 years, 1 month ago

Michigan was the hardest for me... But how quickly a Jayhawk forgets... especially when a talent like Andrew Wiggins brings another year of hope and excitement to Lawrence. He's going to look mighty good in Rock-Chalk Crimson and Blue.

Beware the Phog

jaygirl193 9 years, 1 month ago

To quote Mr. Bedore, No need to fire up the opposition needlessly. (This is what happens when redundant writers write reduntantly!)

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