Showing posts with label Bill Self coach of the year. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bill Self coach of the year. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sizing up Bill Self's Successes and Failures

Being a KU fan, I have nothing but respect and admiration for Bill Self. I am grateful that he is the coach of my alma mater and wouldn't trade him for any other coach in America. However, last year's loss to Northern Iowa still stings. This year's tournament could go a long way in shaping Self's present legacy.

Self's success can be hard to define. Apart from his first season, KU has won at least a share of the Big 12 title every year he has been coach, and pretty much dominated the league. However, during that span Self's teams have made only one Final 4, where they beat North Carolina and later Memphis to win the national title.

It is still early, but how do we look at Self? A good coach who, apart from one magical run, always falls short? This criticism seems unfair. Self's teams are almost always one of the tops seeds in the NCAA tournament, and no team is going to crash the Final 4 every year. As a result, KU has been given a "choker" label mostly due to its regular season dominance. However, the tournament results have been a little disappointing. Taking away the national title run, here is how the Jayhawks have done in the tournament:

2004 - 4 seed, Elite 8
2005 - 3 seed, first round
2006 - 4 seed, first round
2007 - 1 seed, Elite 8
2009 - 3 seed, Sweet 16
2010 - 1 seed, second round

The 2004 and 2009 seasons were viewed as successful runs, given that KU had little to no expectations in terms of competing for a championship. While the early exits seem often, lets not forget that every great coach is going to take his lumps. While Roy Williams never lost in the first round in his tenure as KU's coach, his teams lost in the second round five times during his 14 seasons, including three straight from 1998-2000. However, Williams' teams made four Final Fours in his tenure, despite failing to win a national title.

The counter argument to defending Self can be found in Michigan State's Tom Izzo. In Izzo's 15 seasons coaching the Spartans, his teams have six Final 4 appearances. However, like Self, he has one national title.

Does it matter how many times you make a deep run if you ultimately fall short of winning it all? Dean Smith, regarded as one of the greatest coaches in NCAA history, made 11 Final 4's during his 36 year tenure as North Carolina's head coach. His team won the national title twice. A deep run in this year's tournament would help erase some of the bad memories of early exits for KU fans, as necessary or unnecessary as that may be.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bill Self Named AP Big 12 Coach of the Year

For the second time in the past four seasons, Bill Self's Kansas Jayhawks were not picked to win the Big 12 in the preseason polls. Both times, KU posted a 14-2 Big 12 record and won the conference outright, and the latest Big 12 title has won Bill Self another AP Big 12 coach of the year award.

Apart from winning a national title in 2008, Self's teams have often come up short in the NCAA Tournament. However, his regular season success at KU is rediculous: KU has now won at least a share of seven straight league titles. Self's teams have a huge advantage at home in legendary Allen Fieldhouse (where the team recently won 69 straight home games), but it is the Jayhawks road success that really seperates KU. In Selthe past seven seasons, Kansas has gone 7-1 on the road in conference play three times (no other team has done it once), and has a 43-13 road record overall. That mark is better than any other Big 12 team's home record except for Texas. Any average coach and average team can be good at home - just look at Missouri this season. It takes a special team and a special coach to consistently win on the road, and that is why Self is once again recognized as the league's best.

The only knock on Self is that he has only been to one Final 4 (where his team did win it all), and that his teams often bow out early in the NCAA Tournament. I think most fans need to give him time to bring in some more serious hardware, and appreciate the league dominance we have seen recently. As long as Self is at KU, no one should pick against the Jayhawks winning the league. It will just make winning awards like these even easier.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

KU Wins Seventh Straight Big 12 Title

In the year that KState was supposed to win the Big 12 and many "experts" picked KU to finish as low as fourth, at least a share of the Big 12 title is heading to Lawrence once again. The Jayhawks now have back to back to back to back to back to back to back league titles, a ridiculous streak that no one else in the nation seems to notice.

To win another piece of hardware for its crowded trophy case, KU had to go through a tough, tournament bound Texas A&M team coached by former KU player Mark Turgeon. It wasn't always pretty, but the Jayhawks finally wore down the Aggies 64-51. It was senior night in Lawrence, as KU said goodbye to Tyrel Reed, Brady Morningstar and Mario Little and possibly the Morris twins as well. KU has now won 28 straight senior nights.

Another interesting fact: KU's Bill Self only has seven home losses in his tenure as KU head coach. For at least until next season, Self has seven consecutive league titles and only seven home losses: something no other coach in recent basketball history has come close to duplicating. How has this not gotten more national attention? If Duke or UNC had done anything close to this, we would see a montage hailing Coach K before every Big Monday game for the next two years. Just look at last night - KU wins a seventh straight title and the front page of features an article about the UNC - Florida State game (yawn).

Think if any team in college football won its league more than 3-4 years in a row. It'd be all over the news. KU does it seven straight times with a national title during its streak and hardly anyone raises an eyebrow. One problem is the nature of basketball - the regular season doesn't mean a whole lot when everything is settled with a crazy single-elimination tournament. Bill Self has now captured three league titles when his team wasn't the preseason favorite, and officially owns the Big 12 (usually one of the toughest college basketball conferences). Its time for ESPN and other media outlets to stop its love affair with the east coast teams and give KU the respect it has earned.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kansas Owns Missouri...Again

This was the season the Kansas Jayhawks were vulnerable. KU had lost the legendary Sherron Collins, the talented Cole Aldrich and Xavier Henry, and was finally ripe for the picking in the Big 12. Well, that is if you listened to K-State and Missouri fans all summer and fall.

Kansas beat Missouri 103-86 last night in another lopsided Border War, proving yet again that KU will always be better than Missouri, and that its rivals to the east are not coming into the Phog and walking out with anything short of a blowout loss. In the year that KU was finally supposed to be vulnerable, both Kansas State and Missouri have gotten absolutely destroyed by the Hawks in Lawrence. Kansas' offense has been unstoppable in Big 12 play, mixing a deadly down low game with the Morris twins with steady outside shooting and guard play. Even more so, the Jayhawks are the deepest team in the country, consistently getting huge contributions from its bench.

After listening to KState and Mizzou fans talk trash all season long, the two humiliating defeats feel extra good this season. It gets hard to take pleasure in beating teams you take down year after year, in a league you win every season, so anything that makes the wins more fun is welcomed by KU fans. When Bill Self wins coach of the year again this season, maybe the other local schools will finally get it. Until then, let Mizzou and KState fans keep talking. KU doesn't need to, its dominance over its rivals says enough.


This is a legally confirmed "open forum" website that is not responsible for any content posted within. The opinions, articles and comments on this site do not reflect the opinions of the owner of this site, or it's subsidiaries.