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Friday, April 3, 2015

Self’s prediction: UK over Duke in final

Kansas University basketball recruiting.

Kansas University basketball recruiting.

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Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self, who is in Indianapolis for the Final Four, was willing to play prognosticator for the Journal-World on Friday.

“Duke and Kentucky. Kentucky wins it,” Self stated via text.

Duke meets Michigan State at 5:09 p.m. today in Lucas Oil Stadium in one Final Four semifinal. Kentucky tangles with Wisconsin at 7:49 p.m. in the other.

Winners meet in the national title game at 8 p.m. Monday.

Still undefeated, Kentucky clobbered KU, 72-40, in the Champions Classic on Nov. 18 in Indy. KU beat Michigan State, 61-56, in the finals of the Orlando Classic on Nov. 30 in Florida. The Jayhawks did not play Duke or Wisconsin this season.

KU is 6-22 all-time vs. Kentucky; 3-7 vs. Duke; 5-6 vs. Michigan State; and 3-1 vs. Wisconsin.

Thorne update: Former UNC Charlotte center Michael Thorne Jr. announced this week on Instagram that he has narrowed his transfer choices to Kansas, Pittsburgh and Illinois.

Thorne, a 6-foot-11, 270-pound junior from Fayetteville, North Carolina, will visit Pitt on April 9, Illinois on April 17 and KU on April 22. He will announce his decision on April 25, likely on Instagram.

Thorne averaged 10.1 points a game off 53.4 percent shooting his junior season. He was 54-of-101 from the free-throw line for 53.5 percent. Playing 26.1 minutes a game in 32 games, he blocked 29 shots and averaged a team-leading 7.3 rebounds.

As a graduate transfer student, he will be eligible to play in games next season.

“Gone (going to) finish my college career at either Pittsburgh, Kansas or Illinois. Gone make my decision April 25th. God will lead me in the right direction,” Thorne wrote on Instagram.

He had heard from more than 40 schools, including seven from the ACC, plus Minnesota, West Virginia, Arizona and Xavier.

“I want to see good chemistry with the team, and get to know the coaching staff,” Thorne told Illinois.rivals.com after announcing his finalists. “I want a coach who is really good at developing big men and a coach who can help me get to the next level.”

Of KU, Thorne told Illinois.rivals.com: “With them having an outstanding coach in Bill Self with a proven record of getting players to the next level, you know every day in practice he is going to get the best out of you and are going to give it your all. He has some tools to help me get to where I want to go. That’s also another place where I think I can thrive in that environment.”

Of Pitt, he told Illinois.rivals.com: “Coach (Jamie) Dixon is a good coach. He has a track record of sending bigs to the next level. Plus, it’s in the ACC, one of the best conferences in the country. You would get to play against the likes of Duke, North Carolina, and Notre Dame. So I think that would be a great fit.”

And of the Illini, he said: “I like them because I see it as place where I can fit in right away. I feel like I’m the missing piece that can help the school get back to the NCAA Tournament and advance in the tournament. Coach (John) Groce is a great guy, and it’s another great conference, so that would be a good fit for me as well.”

Diallo deciding: KU and Pitt are also two of the finalists for Cheick Diallo, a 6-9 senior from Our Savior New American in Centereach, New York. Diallo also has St. John’s, Iowa State and Kentucky on his list.

Diallo, who averaged 19 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks a game his senior season, is expected to decide before Thorne’s visit to KU, around the time of the Jordan Brand Classic (April 17 in New York).

“I’m just thinking about it, but I’m not 100 percent now. Not sure yet,” Diallo told New York Newsday after winning MVP honors at Wednesday’s McDonald’s game. “I’m waiting to know which players are going to the NBA or which players are staying. So that’s what I’m waiting for.”

Shaka’s style: New Texas coach Shaka Smart took what some perceived as a shot at KU at his introductory news conference when asked how he thinks his pressing style will fare in the Big 12.

“It translated pretty well a few years ago in San Antonio,” Smart said as reported by Brian Davis of the Austin American Statesman. Smart’s VCU team beat KU in the Elite Eight in 2011. KU coach Self declined comment on the statement.

Comments

Tony Bandle 7 years, 4 months ago

Oakville Oddities:

1] Well, Smart just moved up to #1 on the A-Hole List.

2] Mike or Cheick...we've got nothing in the middle to match either of you. Come on down!!

3] Please everyone forgive me, but if it comes to UK vs Duke, I'm cheeering for UK. You see, Kentucky fans are stuck on themselves because of their basketballl program. Duke fans are stuck on themselves because they are Duke fans. What a bunch of elitist, self-centered snobs!!!

4] Never count out MSU and their coach in the Final Four.

Steve Zimmerman 7 years, 4 months ago

Smart proved his uptempo style won over Self's slow predictable low-post inside out, which is a thing in the past. A center like Lucas, Ridley, Karl-Town, will not be as effective in the offense as opposed to a leaner, meaner center/PF who can run, post, fly such as Cauley, Okafor, Wiggins. 3-pt shooters are more lethal than inside post and if a team doesn't emphasize shooting 3s - it's not going anywhere.

Travis Clementsmith 7 years, 4 months ago

Yes, as Self's 11 strait titles prove, his style is a thing of the past. The thing is, its hard to keep talented big men in college for longer than one or two years. If you have talented and experienced big men, more often than not, you can get a high percentage shot any time you like. Granted, if the three point shooters are "on", it will probably win you the game and maybe score you a big upset in a one and done format. But let's look at the Final Four: UK - big dominated; Duke - big centered; Wisconsin - unconventional big centered; Michigan - that throw-back style you claim to hate. Those big men you name (not sure why you include Wiggins in this) are elite big men who move on after one year. If we had had Embiid this year, you would be singing a different tune.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 4 months ago

Travis: Your premise is way off point. You ignore the numbers.

Wisconsin, Duke, and Michigan St. all shoot over 19 three pointers per game. They each shoot a lot of threes. Compare that to KU's three point shooting rate of just over 15 per game. Further, after the Baylor home game, we shot barely 13 per game. We were 21-4 before, and then 6-5 after.

Further, you haven't paid attention to Michigan St. In the past two seasons, MSU shot well over 700 three pointers for the season. In the two seasons before that, MSU shot in in the mid 500s.

Interestingly, UK shot nearly exactly the same number of three point attempts per game as Kansas. You note that UK is big dominated. And you are right. It is just simply puzzling why Kansas, who could barely score at 56% at the rim, would shoot the same rate of threes as a team that shot 69% at the rim.

Those conference titles are bunch of fun when we underachieve once again in March.

Cody Riedy 7 years, 4 months ago

I don't think these stats mean as much as you make them out to. First, here's the 3pt shooting of our guards/wings after the Baylor game:

Greene 5-29 17.2% Selden 2-22 9.1% Oubre 7-24 29.2% Graham 10-20 50.0% Mason 12-28 42.9%

That's a total of: 36-123 29.2%

So maybe the team's 3PA went down because the team collectively shot like crap and the team lost games because it shot like crap, not to mention they played without Alexander, who despite the general criticism, still was a factor at times. In that stretch you are discussing, we lost to WVU by 1, OU by 2 and Iowa St by 4. Even if only for stretches, contributions from Alexander might have made a difference in those games. Of course we also played without or with a hobbled Ellis in a couple of those losses.

Furthermore, here are some historical averages for the past few years for 3PA:

2014-15 15.61; 2013-14 15.88; 2012-13 16.05; 2011-12 16.49; 2010-11 18.68; 2009-10 18.00; 2008-09 16.71; 2007-08 17.08.

If you average those averages, for the last 8 seasons, KU has averaged 16.8 3PA a game. So now you are talking about a 2 attempt average difference relative to the stats you posted for this year for these other teams. That does't seam that significant to me. Furthermore, just looked at this season, the FGA per game was nearly identical for all those teams and KU with differences of only 1 to 2 attempts per game.

In short, people claim Self's offense is slow, but in terms of FGA, KU gets off as many shots as other top teams. In terms of three point shooting, historically, KU is not that different from other top teams either. This year, I think you have to take into account how terrible the team shot down the stretch before making any general claims about KU's offense compared to other teams offenses.

Lastly, a much more simpler stat: If you compare the top 3 players of every final 4 team to our top 3 players you see something very clear. There's are better than ours, except for maybe Michigan State, and we beat them earlier this year.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 4 months ago

Nice Jack. Great stats.

I personally think we are in a period of diminishing returns in regard to final outcome.. Our starting wing next year might have exactly 0 college minutes of experience next year OR may be a Soph or Jr. whose main experience will have been watching Oubre, Wiggins or both play while he sat.

Next year's team will be older but not a lot more experienced at the starting roster.

Kansas is NOT in a period of diminishing when it comes to revenue:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/chrissmith/2015/03/16/college-basketballs-most-valuable-teams-louisville-on-top-kansas-close-behind/

Tom Jones 7 years, 4 months ago

"Smart proved his uptempo style won over Self's slow predictable low-post inside out, which is a thing in the past"

Ummmm....no. Did you even watch that game?

It wasn't coaching, bro. To win, you have to make baskets. VCU, who shot 36% from 3 during the season, shot 48% in beating Georgetown, FSU and KU. They just caught fire.

But even given that, KU would have won with an even average shooting game of their own. Instead they shot 36% from the field, 9.5% from 3 and 57% from the foul line.

Shaka has never won his own league and has gone 2-4 since his team caught fire from the arc in 2011. So the effectiveness of his style is still very much an unanswered question. It works if his teams shoots well, but...isn't that really how it works regardless of your style?

Good hire for UT, and he's a good coach. But he's a Class A douchebag, and his comment indicating that his "style" was what carried the day against KU is not only erroneous, but it's arrogant and more importantly slights his players, who actually won the game.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 4 months ago

Looking for a BIG 10 Champ. Odds aren't good but I've seen bigger upsets.

As for Smart's remarks, no big deal. Red meat for the alumni.

Dale Rogers 7 years, 4 months ago

I don't have a problem with Smart's remark. After all, the question was a challenge as to whether his style could cut it in the Big 12. His reply was actually spot on, painful as it was. And his style is probably where more and more teams will go over time, just like the fast offense in football in college circles.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 4 months ago

I agree Dale...he will certainly get more out of his players than Barnes ever did. I thought Smart may have been one of those 'Few' coaches who stay and build a top program w/little interest to go elsewhere.

Guess I was wrong.

Vernon Riggs 7 years, 4 months ago

If it is UK vs. Duke, I will root for a tie.

Sarah Carr 7 years, 4 months ago

Do tornadoes ever hit Indianapolis? JK

Eric TheCapn 7 years, 4 months ago

When it comes to Kentucky vs. Duke, I root for Netflix... or maybe food poisoning.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 4 months ago

I have had KY all year long. They can be beat any team can, but the odds are in their favor this year. It is their defense in the last 10 minutes that gives them the chance to win every game. That and a little luck and they are the champs.

I would love to see an all big 10 final but I think both of those teams are watching like everyone else on Monday night.

I wonder what the record for most McDonald Amereicans playing in the championship game is? If its a Duke KY final that has to be the new record! I think it would be 18 playing in one game. Astounding.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 4 months ago

Agree with you on the all-BIG 10 final...not likely but you can hope.

Dale Rogers 7 years, 4 months ago

I think the UK kids deserve to win. They're an outstanding team. But their coach, well, let's just say I'm allergic to slime. And for that reason I root for anyone playing against UK.

Marc Frey 7 years, 4 months ago

I married a Badger, so Go Bucky! The lesser of all 4 evils in my mind anyway. I just hope we do not lose our spot in the November Champions Classic. 3/4 of the field is in the Final Four.

Lorena Ben G Solis 7 years, 4 months ago

We can't lose our spot in the champion classic plus word is Kentucky coming to our house next year

Rob Bedford III 7 years, 4 months ago

Who signed KU up for that loss. ESPN is going to love repeating UK beats KU in AFH over and over.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 4 months ago

We have ONE title in 27 years. I'm sure we are good for another decade or so...

Tony Bandle 7 years, 4 months ago

Parts of my family are Viking fans, so anything Wisconsin is toxic. I, however, would love to see this battle go to the Badgers.

Just a question for you all...is it rare to have four former NCAA champoins in the same Final Four?? Just curious!!

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 4 months ago

I don't know how rare it is, but all 4 (UConn, UK, Wisc., and Fla.) teams from last year had won a title previously as well.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 4 months ago

It's pretty common... The 2012 Final 4 teams were all prior winners.

Clarence Haynes 7 years, 4 months ago

That was one game Shaka (albeit a tough one for us to lose because our bigs had their heads somewhere else that day). Shaka, you have to play KU and everyone else twice each year and perhaps again in the Big XII Tournament.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 4 months ago

And our guards were barely above walk-on talent.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 4 months ago

What are you talking about? Selby and Johnson were 5 star, Taylor and Releford were 4 star players, and Tyrel Reed was just outside the top 100. Brady Morningstar was the only unranked player in the backcourt who played meaningful minutes that season. Tell me how that team lost 3 games the entire season with a backcourt of "barely above walk-on talent" running the offense that year?

Walter Bridges 7 years, 4 months ago

WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

Is this TOO complex Aaron? The statement was about the VCU/KU game not the entire season.

See how Clarence started his statement ":That was one game Shaka..." He then follows with "our bigs had their heads somewhere else that day".

Maybe YOUR head is somewhere else. I'm guessing it's up your ...

Jeremy Wilhelm 7 years, 4 months ago

Calm down Walter. You claimed our guards in that game didn't have talent substantially better than a walk-on. Aaron produced some facts to argue the point. Your response is this? My four-year-old is a better debater.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 4 months ago

In the game v VCU. Morningstar and Reed played the PG and 2. A 3 star and a WALK-ON.

If you're 4 year old can do better, let him. You can't.

Harlan Hobbs 7 years, 4 months ago

Thanks, Travis for putting things into perspective. As for the "sour apples" fans, weren't some of you the ones who three to four months ago were predicting that Kelly Oubre would transfer because of lack of playing time and that he would go down as one of the "bombs" of KU recruiting. Well, I guess you were partially right. He is transferring - - to the pros.

Robert Lofthouse 7 years, 4 months ago

“It translated pretty well a few years ago in San Antonio,” Smart said as reported by Brian Davis of the Austin American Statesman. KU coach Self declined comment on the statement, because it's going on the locker room bulletin board 2-3 times a year.

Robert Lofthouse 7 years, 4 months ago

Smart's teams average 9 losses a season overall, with 5 losses each season in conference with not one championship. He might translate that havoc style into more wins at UT with better talent, but it's his to prove against vastly superior competition two nights a week! The better teams in his league have figured out how to beat him with regularity. Self's teams on the other hand average 6 overall and 3 in conference losses over the past six years. The numbers and strategy clearly favor KU. I agree with an earlier poster that Marshall would have been the better investment for Texas. My Phoggy crystal ball predicts Smart lasting less than six years in Austin due to less than expected results, and getting replaced with a bigger name.

Rob Bedford III 7 years, 4 months ago

I wonder if Drake and Ashley Judd are crying in the locker room with the UK team?

Sherry McGowan 7 years, 4 months ago

Coach Self just doesn't understand basketball at all.

John Kelley 7 years, 4 months ago

Self’s prediction: KU in the final 4 in 2016

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