Home » Bill Self » Recent Articles:

An improbable run by Kansas? That’s what this is

by - Published April 2, 2012 in Columns
kansas

One team was supposed to be here, one team wasn’t. The latter could be said in more ways than one. But as Monday night’s national championship game beckons, Kentucky and Kansas are something of a study in contrasts from the standpoint of how they got to this point. While there will surely be a lot of talk of about recent history between these two teams and head coaches, a better subject is the contrast in the expectations many had of these teams, and how one of them has reached here in what was thought to be more of a rebuilding year than a contending one. In doing so, we find that Bill Self may have done his best coaching job yet.

“We have kind of flown under the radar, by Kansas standards of late, which I think has been very healthy for a team that’s just trying to find themselves,” said Self.

… Continue Reading

Bracket Breakdown: Kansas’ Upset Follows Scary Trend for Jayhawk Fans

by - Published March 22, 2010 in Columns

Kansas was supposed to cruise to its second title in three years. On paper, the Jayhawks had everything a team was supposed to need to make a long, triumphant run to the final game in April.

A seasoned point guard with plenty of NCAA Tournament experience, including one national championship already? Check.

A tough-minded beast in the post with NBA-caliber talent? Check.

A few athletic swingmen who cause match up problems against smaller guards? Check.

A great statistical profile that included an offense and defense ranked in the top 10 in efficiency? Check.

A veteran coach who knows how to win big games? Um, we might need to leave that box blank.

Since coach Bill Self arrived in Lawrence in 2003, the Jayhawks have reached the NCAA Tournament every season. In 2008, Self guided Kansas to its first championship in 20 years by upsetting the top overall seed, North Carolina, and then beating Memphis in a thriller. The media eagerly added Self to the pantheon of the greatest coaches in the game today.

But perhaps we all embraced Self’s success a little too hastily.

Besides 2008, what has Kansas accomplished under Self? If Saturday’s loss to Northern Iowa stunned you, I recommend that you sit down for this one.

If you don’t count the championship season, Kansas has won exactly one NCAA Tournament game against a team seeded better than No. 8. One! That doesn’t seem possible, especially for a team that has been seeded No. 4 or better in every one of those NCAA Tournaments. For crying out loud, Cornell and St. Mary’s have topped that total this season alone!

Let’s run down the recent NCAA Tournament history of the Self-made Kansas Jayhawks.

  • 2004: In Self’s first season with the Jayhawks, the team earned a No. 4 seed and beat No. 13 Illinois-Chicago, No. 12 Pacific and No. 8 UAB before losing to No. 3 Georgia Tech in the Elite Eight.
  • 2005: With high expectations as a No. 3 seed, Kansas flamed out in the first round against No. 14 Bucknell.
  • 2006: Kansas fared no better the next season as a No. 4 seed, losing to No. 13 Bradley in the first round.
  • 2007: As a No. 1 seed, Kansas made its second-deepest run under Self, beating No. 16 Portland State, No. 8 Kentucky and No. 4 Southern Illinois before losing to No. 2 UCLA.
  • 2008: The Jayhawks earned a No. 1 seed and won the national championship by taking out No. 16 Niagara, No. 8 UNLV, No. 12 Villanova, No. 10 Davidson, No. 1 North Carolina and No. 1 Memphis.
  • 2009: After winning the championship, the reloaded Jayhawks got a No. 3 seed and beat No. 14 North Dakota State and No. 11 Dayton before losing to No. 2 Michigan State.
  • 2010: Expected to win their second national championship in three seasons, the Jayhawks became the first No. 1 seed to lose in this year’s tournament when No. 9 Northern Iowa knocked them off.

In three of seven tournaments, Kansas has been victimized by teams seeded eight, nine and 11 seeds worse than the Jayhawks’. Those all count as major upsets. In 2004 and 2009, the Jayhawks were the beneficiaries of other upsets and beat three teams seeded No. 8 or worse in the second round and Sweet 16 before eventually losing to the first better seed they played.

In 2007, Kansas made its best run outside the championship season as the Jayhawks beat the hardest possible team, based on seed, in each round before losing to UCLA, and there’s no shame in losing to a No. 2 seed in the Elite Eight.

But even Kansas’ run to the national championship in 2008 is littered with lucky breaks. The Jayhawks drew overmatched No. 12 Villanova in the Sweet 16 and exhausted No. 10 Davidson in the Elite Eight. If Stephen Curry hadn’t simply run out of steam with five minutes to go, the Wildcats might have pulled off yet another major upset of Self’s Jayhawks.

In the 2008 Final Four, Kansas played the single best NCAA Tournament game of the Bill Self era when the Jayhawks crushed North Carolina with a huge first half. The Jayhawks used a 31-6 to squash North Carolina’s hopes by midway through the first half. However, even with a 28-point lead, Kansas tried to give away the game as the Tar Heels rallied to cut that huge deficit to four points. They ran out of gas — a la Curry in the Elite Eight — and Kansas held on for an 84-66 victory.

In the championship game, Kansas was the team delivering an epic rally. When Memphis’ Robert Dozier hit two free throws with just more than two minutes remaining, the Tigers has a nine-point cushion and appeared set to win the championship. But Memphis missed 4-of-5 free throws in the final 75 seconds — perhaps bad karma derived from Derrick Rose’s academic machinations in high school — setting the stage for Mario Chalmers’ miraculous game-tying three-pointer in the waning seconds. Kansas carried the momentum through overtime and surged to a 75-68 championship game victory.

There’s no doubt that Self is a good coach. He is an excellent recruiter, and his teams statistically play great defense and efficient offense. However, his NCAA Tournament résumé is far from proven, and it’s way too early to label him a great coach as long as the Jayhawks have twice as many NCAA Tournament losses (six) than wins against teams seeded better than No. 8 (three).

Advertisement

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Your Phil of Hoops

Despite a hit on the bottom line, Stony Brook’s transition continues

December 16, 2014 by

stonybrook

Stony Brook was able to hang with Providence until the roof caved in several minutes into the second half. It’s part of a growing process this team in transition needs, and it continues despite dropping a few games along the way.

Amidst Maine’s rebuilding challenge, there is hope

December 12, 2014 by

maine

Maine has a long road ahead as they rebuild under new head coach Bob Walsh. Amidst the early struggles, the Black Bears have shown some reason for hope going forward.

Saturday Notes – December 6, 2014

December 7, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

We look back at quite a day of basketball, highlighted by early upsets and then some good matchups, plus a few sneaky-good wins for some teams on a busy day.

Hoopville Archives

Reader Poll

This poll is closed! Poll activity:
start_date 2014-12-12 12:00:00
end_date 2014-12-16 12:00:00
Poll Results:
Ten teams are still undefeated as of December 12. Which team will be the last one to lose their first game of the season?

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

2014 Scholar Roundball Classic recap and notes

December 16, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

We look at some notes and evaluations from Sunday’s action at the Scholar Roundball Classic, where the blowouts included some noteworthy performances.

2014 Hoop Mountain Prep Classic – Sunday notes

December 9, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

We look back at Sunday’s action in the Hoop Mountain Prep Classic, which included an overtime thriller and a couple of lopsided contests, and some prospects who helped themselves out with their play.

Some notes from the National Prep Showcase

November 28, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

The busy weekend that just passed also included a few games at the National Prep Showcase. Here are a few notes from some of the action early on Friday and Saturday.

New England Prep Schools 2014-15: looking back and looking ahead

November 3, 2014 by

nepsac

With a series of prep school open gym visits in the book and the season not far away, here’s a look back at open gyms and a look forward to the season in the New England prep school ranks.

Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

October 20, 2014 by

marianapolis

Marianapolis Prep is far from loaded with talent, but they have enough perimeter talent to be dangerous. As is usually the case, they will battle and be a tough out in Class AA.

2014 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: Putnam Science Academy
Sept 10: Commonwealth Academy
Sept. 11: St. Andrew's
Sept. 12: Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 16: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 17: Brooks School
Sept. 21: Holderness School
Sept. 23: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 24: South Kent School and Kent School
Sept. 25: Williston Northampton
Sept. 28: Wilbraham and Monson Academy and Suffield Academy
Sept. 30: New Hampton
Oct. 5: Worcester Academy
Oct. 7: Brimmer and May
Oct. 8: Cushing Academy
Oct. 9: Tilton
Oct. 12: Tabor Academy and Rivers School
Oct. 14: The Master's School
Oct. 16: Vermont Academy

You can also find them all right here.