Entries from blogs tagged with “roll”
Looking back on new KU women’s basketball coach Brandon Schneider addressing fans in wake of winning national title at Emporia State
Kansas has decided that Brandon Schneider is the coach needed to pump life into a joyless women's basketball program that had trouble generating fan interest, particularly among students.
Schneider left the Emporia State women's program after winning the Div. II national championship in 2010, his 12th season at the school. He comes to Kansas from Stephen F. Austin, where his Ladyjacks won a share of the Southland Conference title in 2014 and won it outright last month in his fifth and final season at the school in Nacogdoches, Texas.
It will be interesting to see how far Schneider has come as a public speaker in the past five years. You can do so by taking a look at the video below of Schneider addressing Emporia State fans in the wake of the school's first national championship in any sport and then watching his 10 a.m. press conference by clicking on our All Eyes on KU blog.
Four consecutive Final Fours. Three national-title games in four seasons. A coach can't accomplish those feats without having the ability to recruit, develop and make the right moves in close ballgames against strong competition.
John Ontjes has accomplished those feats as head coach of the Hutchinson County Community College women's basketball program. He starred as a player for two years at Hutch before starting at point guard for Billy Tubbs for a year and Kelvin Sampson for a year at Oklahoma. He averaged 10.5 points and 6.6 assists during his Sooners career. He was better than solid as a player and is a way better coach than player.
His team, noted for tenacious defense, held 14 of its final 15 opponents to fewer than 60 points. The Blue Dragons took a 36-0 record into the national title game March 21, a 54-46 loss to Chipola.
Brad Hallier of the Hutchinson news recently wrote a column endorsing Ontjes for the KU job and expressing the opinion that the coach is too good for any level but high Div. I. In it, Hallier cited an amazing statistic in the column: The Blue Dragons have built a home-court winning streak of 117 games for their ultra-competitive coach.
Six of the 13 players on this season's Hutch roster played high school ball in Kansas.
Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger has not shared the names of his 15 finalists on a list that started with 60 names, but he did say he has explored coaches from all levels, including junior college. Given that, it's difficult to imagine Ontjes at the very least was not on the original list and very well could be among the final 15.
As Angel Goodrich demonstrated when she took Kansas to back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, nothing is more important than a terrific point guard.
Notre Dame assistant coach Niele Ivey (first name pronounced by saying the word “knee” and the letter “L”) was one herself and during her eight seasons as an assistint has mentored others.
A native of St. Louis who graduated from ND in 2000 with a history degree, Ivey also has been Notre Dame’s recruiting coordinator since 2012. The Fighting Irish, who rank second nationally in field-goal percentage (49.8) and fifth in scoring (80.9), face South Carolina in a 5:30 CT semifinal in a game televised on ESPN. This is Notre Dame's fifth consecutive Final Four.
Ivey has received praise for her work with ND point guard Lindsay Allen and with Skylar Diggins before that. She also has had a hand in the Irish ranking in the top five nationally in each of the past three recruiting classes.
After her All-American career at Notre Dame, Ivey spent five seasons playing in the WNBA.
“Niele is really a rising star, a rock star if you will, in the coaching profession,” Notre Dame head coach Muff McGraw said in the Niele bio on the school’s website. “... She’s got to be known as one of the best recruiters in the country and certainly with our point guards, she does just a phenomenal job.”
Ivey made the 2001 Final Four all-tournament team by averaging 16.5 points and 5.5 assists in leading Notre Dame to its first national title.
Ivey keeps the public up to date on Notre Dame basketball and on her son Jaden’s budding hoops career with the Twitter handle @IrishCoachIvey.
Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger started his search for a new women’s basketball coach by compiling a list of 60 names. At least 59 of them were not named by Fortune Magazine as one of the “World’s Greatest Leaders.”
On a list that ranked Pope Francis fourth, LeBron James 31st and Jimmy Fallon 45th, Princeton eighth-year women’s basketball coach Courtney Banghart checked in at No. 43. The Tigers went 31-1 this past season, losing to Maryland, 85-70, in the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament.
“Banghart, who has a master’s degree in leadership development, expects more of her players than great play: They must adhere to Princeton’s tough academic standards too,” Fortune wrote of the Dartmouth graduate.
Banghart’s team plays an up-tempo style and led the nation in three-point accuracy this season, which is fitting considering that in 1999, Banhart led the nation in three-point field goals per game.
Seeded eighth in the NCAA tournament, the Tigers posted the second Ivy League victory in tourney history (Harvard 1998 was the first), defeating Wisconsin-Green Bay, 80-70, in the round of 64. Before hiring Banghart, Princeton never had been to the NCAA tourney. This was the fourth trip in five seasons for the Tigers, whose season included a 30-point victory at Michigan.
Banghart’s turn-around at the Ivy League school didn’t take long. She went 21-37 in her first two seasons, 148-30 in the next six.
Take four more looks at the most talked-about play in Wichita State’s 78-65 victory Sunday in Omaha, one that sent the veteran Shockers on to a Sweet 16 game Thursday in Cleveland vs. Notre Dame.
The first thing you probably noticed is that at one point Kansas freshman Kelly Oubre was ahead of the Shockers' Zach Brown, but was ultimately beaten to the ball and mistimed his lunge for it.
Now watch it again and this time focus on Brannen Greene. After Brown tipped the pass, Greene, watching the ball, took three walking steps and the sprinted down the court. Three steps too late.
Now watch it a third time and this time focus on Perry Ellis. He was too far behind Brown to make a play, but had Ellis sprinted down court, making an angle to the basket, he could have been there for the rebound in the event Brown missed the dunk. Instead, he jogs very slowly down the right side of the court.
Watch it a fourth and final time and this time focus on Oubre after Brown makes the steal. Instead of sprinting after him in case he lost the ball on the dribble or missed the shot at the rim, Oubre actually drifts out of bounds and very slowly jogs for a few steps.
It was no way for any of the KU players to end a play that felt as if it ended the season.
Omaha — Greg Gurley, attending Kansas University’s public practice, had just finished watching on a courtside computer UAB finish off an upset of Iowa State on Thursday in Lousiville, when he looked back on the first time he saw UAB coach Jerod Haase in a Kansas locker room.
“He was at Cal and we hated playing against him (in the 1993 NCAA tournament) because he was kind of that annoying guy,” Gurley said. “Then we beat him and he came into our uniform, full uniform on, and I remember I was with one of my teammates and I go, ‘Is that Jerod Haase?’ It was. He and coach (Roy) Williams talked and he basically told Coach Williams he wanted to transfer.”
Kansas went on to the Final Four.
“The next weekend after that he was in Lawrence on a visit,” Gurley said. “From that point on, he was attached to coach Williams, followed him to North Carolina and has done well.”
Haase, 40, played his final three seasons of college basketball for Williams at Kansas. He spent four seasons working under Williams at KU and eight at North Carolina. He is in his third season as head coach at UAB and coached in the NCAA tournament Thursday for the first time. Until that victory, the one that gained the most attention for Haase came when his Blazers upset mentor Williams' North Carolina squad Dec. 1, 2013, in Birmingham.
Haase has a 54-45 record at UAB. His Blazers advance to a Saturday game vs. UCLA.
The Big 12 went 0-3 Thursday, with Baylor (Georgia State) and Iowa State losing to No. 14 seeds and Texas losing to No. 6 seed Butler.
I came up with one more way to look at the unfairness of the NCAA tournament seeding to see if I could confirm my suspicions that the Midwest region is strangely stacked, so much more loaded than the others.
I looked at the points each school received in the final 2014-15 Associated Press college basketball poll and compared them, region-by-region. Sure enough, it confirmed the power of the Midwest regional.
Led by Kentucky’s 1,625 points, the Midwest has 6,014 AP poll points. The East finishes second with 5,527 points, the West (4,855) third and the South (4,824) fourth.
The top 25 ranking of Midwest regional teams: 1. Kentucky, 8. Notre Dame, 10. Kansas, 12. Maryland, 14. Wichita State, 20. West Virginia, 24. Butler.
Think about this for a moment: There are four regionals and the Midwest has five of the first 14 teams in the Associated Press poll. Not cool. Four East schools rank in the top 14: 2. Villanova, 6. Virginia, 11. Northern Iowa, 13. Oklahoma, three from the South regional (4. Duke, 7. Gonzaga, 9. Iowa State), just two in the West (3. Wisconsin, 5. Arizona), plus Nos. 15. North Carolina and 16. Baylor.
Oh well, the games begin in full today and tomorrow, so it’s probably time to focus on them and stop griping about the unbalanced brackets.
Sixteen teams capable of winning the national title and why in 16 words:
1 - Kentucky: Several NBA teams lack legitimate NBA center. Kentucky has three: Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie-Cauley Stein, Dakari Johnson.
2 - Duke: Overlooked key Quinn Cook, senior guard, beautifully complements freshmen Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones.
3 - Arizona: Experienced point guard T.J. McConnell brings out best in forwards Stanley Johnson, Brandon Ashley, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
4 - Wisconsin: Frank Kaminsky, 7-foot center with guard skills, one of many Badgers with Final Four experience.
5 - Gonzaga: Big Kentucky transfer Kyle Wiltjer and veteran guard Kevin Pangos just two of many three-point threats.
6 - Villanova: Think Pink: Can JayVaughn Pinkston lead ’Cats to a national title 30 years after Ed Pinckney did?
7 - Virginia: Pack-line defense: The only defender who ever extends to three-point line is the man guarding the ball.
8 - North Carolina: Marcus Paige latest Roy Williams superstar Iowan, joining Kirk Hinrich, Harrison Barnes, Raef LaFrentz, Nick Collison.
9 - Lousiville: Rick Pitino’s scoring-challenged, hard-working Cardinals led by relentless Montrezl Harrell, all muscle and hustle.
10 - Ohio State: If “next Michael Jordan” tag had not died, D’Angelo Russell would be guy wearing it now.
11 - Kansas: Only if Kelly Oubre, Hunter Mickelson disrupt defensively and Brannen Greene makes three threes a game.
12 - Iowa State: Free-minded shooters, versaitle players, a coach with professional demeanor, no deficit too big to overcome.
13 - Michigan State: You’ll never find another love like mine for first name of Spartans guard Lourawls Nairn, Jr.
14 - Ole Miss: Third in nation in free-throw shooting, experienced, play hard, take smarter shots without Marshall Henderson.
15 - Northern Iowa: Five three-point shooters get hot for six games in a row and a miracle can happen.
16 - SMU: Coach Larry Harvey Brown. Coach Larry Harvey Brown. Coach Larry Harvey Brown. Coach Larry Harvey Brown.
Kansas, which drew a No. 2 seed in the loaded Midwest region, was ranked No. 10 in the final 2014-15 Associated Press college basketball poll, one spot behind Big 12 rival Iowa State.
The top 25 teams in the AP poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through March 15, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week's ranking:
Record Pts Prv
- Kentucky (65) 34-0 1,625 1
- Villanova 32-2 1,522 4
- Wisconsin 31-3 1,460 6
- Duke 29-4 1,406 2
- Arizona 31-3 1,405 5
- Virginia 29-3 1,333 3
- Gonzaga 32-2 1,229 7
- Notre Dame 29-5 1,178 11
- Iowa St. 25-8 1,043 13
- Kansas 26-8 |995 9
- N. Iowa 30-3 |979 10
- Maryland 27-6 |935 8
- Oklahoma 22-10 |740 15
- Wichita St. 28-4 |737 12
- North Carolina 24-11 |703 19
- Baylor 24-9 |680 16
- Louisville 24-8 |614 14
- SMU 27-6 |485 20
- Utah 24-8 |455 17
- West Virginia 23-9 |398 18
- Arkansas 26-8 |373 21
- Georgetown 21-10 |177 23
- Michigan St. 23-11 |159 |_
- Butler 22-10 |142 22
- VCU 26-9 |109 |_
Others receiving votes: Oregon 91, Providence 62, Xavier 18, Davidson 16, Ohio St. 12, Stephen F. Austin 12, Wyoming 6, Boise St. 5, LSU 5, BYU 3, Valparaiso 3, Harvard 2, Murray St. 2, Wofford 2, Colorado St. 1, Dayton 1, Iowa 1, Purdue 1.
My top 25 ballot:
1 - Kentucky: Going undefeated made the regular season and NCAA tournament more interesting. Win or lose, it's a bigger story than if 'Cats had come into it with a loss.
2 - Virginia: Won the ACC regular-season title, has three losses, and didn't get a No. 1 seed .
3 - Wisconsin: Size, extensive tourney experience, skill shooters, coach Bo Ryan. Book a return trip to the Final Four.
4 - Villanova: Big East landed 6 of 10 members in the field and Villanova dominated the conference. Don't count the 'Cats short.
5 - Arizona: Did more to earn a No. 1 seed than Duke did.
6 - Duke: If Duke had Virginia's season and Virginia had Duke's, does anyone believe the seeds would be the same? No? Didn't think so.
7 - Gonzaga: Most talented Zags team ever has size, experience and a ton of shooters. If chalk rules in the South, regional final with Duke could be high-scoring game.
8 - Notre Dame: Unlike many of Mike Brey's past teams, this one can do more than get hot from the perimeter, but Irish can still do that.
9 - Maryland: Deserve better fate than having to face Kentucky in Sweet 16 game.
10 - Kansas: Normally, an Indiana-Kansas matchup would excite the masses, but in this case it would be a buzz-kill because it would cancel anticipated rare matchup with Wichita State. If you're scoring at home, four of my top 10 teams are in the Midwest Region. That shouldn't happen.
11 - Iowa State: You turn off the TV when Cyclones get way behind you're just not paying attention.
12 - Oklahoma: As do Cyclones, Sooners have easier path to Sweet 16 than Kansas.
13 - North Carolina: Very talented team that has shown recent signs of putting it together. Even so, with Wisconsin and Arizona in the West, projecting Heels to make Final Four is a bit of a reach.
14 - Louisville: Lousy shooters can make teams play poorly with disruptive defense. If Cards defeat UC Irvine and face Northern Iowa in Seattle on Sunday it would be fascinating matchup between great shooters and top-notch defenders.
15 - Northern Iowa: America, meet Seth Tuttle, a 6-foot-8, 240 pounds worth of pure basketball skill.
16 - Wichita State: Shockers must be so mad over getting seeded seventh they're going to play like hornets for as long as they last in the tournament.
17 - Michigan State: Guard Travis Trice averaged more than 20 points in eight games leading up to overtime loss to Wisconsin in Big Ten title game.
18 - Baylor: Not as talented as some Bears teams of recent past, but grittier.
19 - Utah: Utes have lost 4 of past 7. Looking for a first-round upset. Try Stephen F. Austin.
20 - West Virginia: Juwan Staten and Gary Browne expected back for game with Buffalo, coached by former Duke star Bobby Hurley.
21 - Oregon: Ducks not a horrible sleeper choice, but it will be tough to get past Wisconsin in second game.
22 - Georgetown: Many puzzled by No. 4 seed for Hoyas, but if Joshua Smith can stay out of foul trouble, he presents a lot of problems for the guys trying to guard him.
23 - Arkansas: If Hogs and North Carolina meet, that's a lot of talented size on the court and a must-watch game.
24 - Butler: Bulldogs love the underdog role but are seeded five spots higher than talented Texas. Still, it will feel like the Bulldogs are underdogs.
25 - Purdue: Legendary Boilermakers coach Gene Keady is coaching in the tournament as an assistant at St. John's.
Former Kansas point guard Mark Turgeon has coached Maryland to a second-place finish in the prestigious Big Ten and his Terps were ranked No. 8 in the nation, one spot ahead of his alma mater, heading into conference tournaments. Even so, he has not yet clinched coach of the year honors in the Turgeon family. That fierce competition is far from over.
Turge's older brother, Jim Turgeon, 52, brings a 30-3 record in his eighth season for Iowa Western Community College into the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament, which takes place today through Saturday at the Bicentennial Center in Salina. Iowa Western, in Council Bluffs, is located just across the river from Omaha. His Reivers play their fist tourney game Wednesday.
Turgeon searches the globe to put together his roster of 13 players. Four countries (Australia, Cyprus, Hungary, United States) and eight states (California, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, South Dakota) are represented.
In coaching his international roster, Turgeon pulls from coaches with Kansas ties.
"We play aggressive man-to-man defense and we run my brother's secondary break and then we'll usually go into Bill Self's high-low offense," said Turgeon, a graduate of Washburn University." We like to score in the first 10 seconds of the shot clock or the last 10 seconds."
"We'll try to create turnovers and score when the defense isn't set," he said. "When the defense is set, we try to be patient and break down the defense."
Comparing himself to his more famous, wealthier brother, Jim said, "I'm two years older, much better looking and taught him everything he knows."
The brothers, natives of Topeka, share a down-to-earth, Kansas vibe.
"He is (down-to-earth) and he's brutally honest and sometimes that gets him into trouble," Jim said. "When we talk on the phone, first we talk about family and then we talk about our teams, share frustrations and also talk about the positive things that do work."
Jim Turgeon, 191-64 at Iowa Western, has the school record for victories. He is the second-winningest coach in Dodge City Community College, where he went 123-97. Check out these turn-around numbers: In three seasons before Turgeon took over at Dodge City, the school went 28-63. In his final five seasons before getting the heck out of dodge, his record was 105-55.
The year before going to Dodge, Turgeon was an assistant coach at a men's junior-college program near Dallas.
"I wanted to get back to Kansas," he said of the move to Dodge. "I never dreamed I'd be a woman's basketball coach, but it turned out to be my niche. My dad worked with girls most of the time (as assistant at Topeka Hayden High) and it's become my niche. I love it. I'll never go back to coaching men, unless Mark wants to pay me a half-a-million dollars a year to be his assistant. I don't see that happening. I don't know if any university could take two Turgeons at the same time."
Asked if he would be interested in becoming Kansas women's basketball head coach, Jim Turgeon said, "I guess the best way to answer that is that I grew up wanting to be the head coach at Kansas on the men's side, but now I'm on the woman's side. Of course, I'd be interested."
Turgeon isn't campaigning for the job. He merely picked up a phone call and started answering questions honestly.
"I'm in a really good situation," he said. "I have an opportunity to win every year and my family's happy here. That's coach-speak, I know, but it also happens to be true."
Dodge City's a tough place to build a winner, as proven by the program's performance before and after Turgeon. The guy knows how to recruit, coach and develop talent and he does it while maintaining an enjoyable atmosphere for his players.
My knowledge of the women’s college basketball coaching world is limited, but now that Kansas has an opening, I have started asking a lot of questions and doing some research in order to blog about potential candidates. It’s important to understand that by writing about coaches, I’m not saying KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger is planning to interview them. I’m not even saying they necessarily would leave their jobs for KU, which some, Zenger included, believe to be a sleeping giant in women's basketball. I’m just trying to call attention coaches who have winning backgrounds and could possibly be interested in the opening.
Wichita State head coach Jody Adams, the first potential candidate in this, the latest KU coaching-search blog, has done a remarkable job in building a winner and bringing positive attention to the Shockers' women's program.
Wichita State’s Missouri Valley Conference records in seven seasons before Adams took over: 8-10, 7-10, 7-11, 2-16, 8-10, 4-14, 3-15. That’s 17-55 in the four seasons leading up to Admas’ first.
Under Adams: 4-14, 8-10, 10-8, 12-6, 15-3, 14-4, 17-1. That's 46-8 in Adams' past three seasons. Phenomenal. Adams has taken the Shockers from worst in the Missouri Valley to first.
This will be the third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance for Wichita State, which never had earned a berth pre-Adams.
Her amazing turnaround job at Wichita State should not come as a huge surprise to anyone familiar with her background. Adams was known as among the nation’s top recruiters at various assistant-coaching stops, including at MInnesota and UMKC.
Her competitive spirit was evident long before she put it to use as a recruiter. Adams’ winning ways started as a player. As a sophomore, she was starting point guard of the 1991 Tennessee national-championship team. She started her coaching career as a graduate assistant under the legendary Pat Summitt.
Adams, in her seventh season at Wichita State, takes a 26-4 record and nine-game winning streak into the Missouri Valley Conference tournament, which starts today in St. Charles, Mo.
Considering her playing background and coaching success, Adams shapes up as the Kim Mulkey of the Missouri Valley. Wichita State recognized Adams' efforts last July by signing her to a five-year contract extension through 2019. You know how that goes. In sports, contracts are made to be broken.
Kansas stayed at No. 9 in the Associated Press college basketball poll, released today. Maryland replaced Wichita State at No. 8 and the Shockers dropped to 12th.
The top 25 teams in APpoll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Sunday, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week's ranking:
Record Pts Prv
- Kentucky (65) 31-0 1,625 1
- Duke 28-3 1,544 3
- Virginia 28-2 1,454 2
- Villanova 29-2 1,444 4
- Arizona 28-3 1,360 5
- Wisconsin 28-3 1,344 6
- Gonzaga 30-2 1,229 7
- Maryland 26-5 1,103 10
- Kansas 24-7 1,040 9
- N. Iowa 30-3 1,037 11
- Notre Dame 26-5 1,026 12
- Wichita St. 28-4 797 8
- Iowa St. 22-8 786 17
- Louisville 24-7 780 16
- Oklahoma 21-9 772 15
- Baylor 23-8 701 14
- Utah 23-7 587 13
- West Virginia 23-8 525 20
- North Carolina 21-10 406 19
- SMU 24-6 339 22
- Arkansas 24-7 300 18
- Butler 22-9 287 21
- Georgetown 20-9 223 _
- Davidson 23-6 99 _
- Boise St. 24-7 82 _
Others receiving votes: Oregon 69, Providence 63, Ohio St. 40, BYU 18, Michigan St. 15, LSU 8, Iowa 7, St. John's 6, San Diego St. 3, Stephen F. Austin 2, Dayton 1, North Florida 1, Purdue 1, Valparaiso 1.
My AP top 25 ballot:
1 - Kentucky: Wildcats (31-0) are fifth team since Indiana’s 1976 undefeated national championship team to make it through regular season undefeated. The others: Indiana State (1978-79, 26-0), UNLV (1990-91, 27-0), St. Joseph’s (2003-2004, 27-0), Wichita State (2013-14, 31-0).
2 - Virginia: Senior star Justin Anderson had hoped to return to the lineup Saturday after missing eight games with a broken finger, but he underwent an appendectomy Thursday. The Cavs’ 59-57 Saturday loss at Lousiville makes them 7-1 without Anderson, who is questionable for the ACC tournament.
3 - Duke: At his best in big games throughout the season, freshman point guard Tyus Jones had a second terrific performance vs. North Carolina, scoring season-high 24 points Saturday. He also has shown big improvement in the second half of the season and is shooting .446 from three and averaging 14.4 points in the past 15 games.
4 - Wisconsin: National player of year candidate Frank Kaminsky averages in past five games: 23 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.8 blocks, .719 overall shooting, .467 from three.
5 - Villanova: St. John’s came into Philadelphia with a four-game winning streak, the most victories (21) during the Steve Lavin era and took an 18-7 lead. Villanova outscored the high-flying Johnnies a stunning 98-50 the rest of the way.
6 - Arizona: Finished Pac-12 regular season in style, destroying California by 39 and Stanford by 22. T.J. McConnell (11 assists both games) and Brandon Ashley (averaged 18 points, 7.5 rebounds and made 13 of 19 field goals and 10 of 12 free throws) had huge weeks.
7 - Gonzaga: This will be 16th time in 16 seasons under Mark Few that Zags make the tournament. This could be the year Few makes the Elite Eight for the first time. He has made it to the Sweet 16 in four seasons, including his first two. Zags have lost in Round of 32 in each of past five seasons. With so much size and skill, this looks like the best Gonzaga team ever.
8 - Maryland: Turge’s Terps finished Big Ten season riding seven-game winning streak with Dez Wells averaging 18.7 points. In final two games, victories at Rutgers and at Nebraska, Wells averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds. Let’s see, Maryland used to be in the ACC, Rutgers the Big East and Nebraska the Big 12. It still feels weird to call those games Big Ten matchups.
9 - Notre Dame: Irish are nation’s No. 1 two-point shooting team (.586) and rank 24th in nation with .390 three-point percentage. They don’t play rugged defense, but at least make teams earn it from the field by not fouling very often.
10 - Kansas: Frank Mason, Brannen Greene, Devonte Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk have combined for nine blocked shots in 2,157 minutes. Hunter Mickelson has 14 blocked shots in 109 minutes.
11 - Oklahoma: Sooners try to make it three victories in one season vs. in-state rival. Whatever Cowboys have tried to do to throw off Buddy Hield’s shot hasn’t worked. In two games he has made 15 of 18 shots, including 5 of 6 three-pointers and has averaged 21 points.
12 - Iowa State: In conference games, Monte Morris leads Big 12 in assists (5.44) and assists-to-turnovers (4.08) and ranks second in minutes (34.5), field-goal percentage (.518) and steals (tied with two others at 1.72). Most underrated player in conference.
13 - Louisville: Mangok Mathiang, averaging 2.6 points, had not taken a shot until making a 15-footer with 2.7 seconds left to deliver Louisville a 59-57 victory vs. Virginia. Rick Pitino: “Mangok was the 64th option.” Mathiang: “I was just shocked that I made it.”
14 - Baylor: Rare is the conference that can pit teams as good as Baylor and West Virginia against each other in first-round conference tournament game..
15 - West Virginia: Mountaineers looking to avenge regular-season sweep by Baylor, which won the two games by average margin of 15 points.
16 - North Carolina: Tar Heels have lost 6 of 10, but four of the losses were to top 10 teams, two coming in overtime.
17 - Utah: First 25 games: 21-4; Past five games: 2-3. Three-point shooting percentage in 23 victories: .435, compared to .297 in seven losses.
18 - Northern Iowa: Down 36-22 at halftime vs. Illinois State in the Missouri Valley conference tournament title game, the Panthers took over the game with a 25-4 run..
19 - Wichita State: Ron Baker was held scoreless on 0-for-5 shooting in second half in loss to Illinois State. At the half, Baker had 13 points, four rebounds and five assists.
20 - Oregon: Ducks finished Pac-12 regular season on five-game winning streak, including 11-point victory vs. Utah. Only loss in past 10 games came at UCLA.
21 - Georgetown: Hoyas tied for second with Butler in Big East by going 5-1 at end of schedule.
22 - Arkansas: Sophomore center Bobby Portis averaging 17.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots.
23 - Michigan State: Guard Travis Trice, who scored 18 of his 21 points Saturday in the second half in 74-72 victory at Indiana, getting hot just in time for postseason. Averaged 20.8 points in last six games
24 - Butler: Coach Chris Holtmann took over on an interim basis in October when Brandon Miller requested a medical leave of absence. He was named permanent head coach in January, meaning his gamble of leaving his post as head coach at Gardner-Webb for an assistant’s job at Butler paid off. Holtmann’s records at Gardner-Webb: 11-21, 12-20, 21-13, an impressive turn-around.
25 - Purdue: If I see the Boilermakers listed as a bubble team one more time my head will explode. The Boilermakers tied for third in the always-strong Big Ten with 12-6 record.
No need to look at the calendar to check the month. Kansas University basketball fans will remind you by saying what they say annually in early March. “You know,” they start, “I think this is Bill Self’s best coaching job yet.”
Since that’s such a hot topic, I decided to take a stab at ranking Self’s most impressive coaching jobs during this run of 11 consecutive Big 12 regular-season titles. Naturally, because the NCAA tournament hasn’t been played yet, the ranking for this season is subject to change. I released one every 15 minutes, starting at No. 11 and working my way down to No. 1.
I thought it would be a fun exercise because it really is amazing how often someone will express the sentiment that “this is Self’s best coaching job yet,” at this time of year.
The truth, of course, is that it requires a strong coaching job to win one Big 12 title and to do it 11 times without interruption is mind-blowing.
Self’s intelligence, the ability to read people and find the right means of getting the most out of each individual, his direct nature and 100 percent confidence that his way is the right way, combine to make him a coach who is able to construct a roster, coach it up and win back-to-back titles.
I would be interested to know how others would rank the job he did in coaching each of the 11 Big 12 title teams.
Tom Keegan's Rankings of Bill Self's best coaching jobs in the last 11 years:
1. 2007-08: The only Final Four with four No. 1 seeds featured coaches John Calipari, Roy Williams and Ben Howland, who was coaching in his third consecutive Final Four, and Bill Self, the only Final Four first-timer. Self had established such an unselfish culture and such superior ball movement with this group that Brandon Rush led the team in scoring in three consecutive seasons and never averaged more than 13.8 points per game in any season. Yet, even though Rush was the leading scorer, it was fellow junior Mario Chalmers who had developed into the man teammates looked to get the ball to in the biggest moments. In the semifinal, freshman Cole Aldrich’s coming out party, Kansas took a 40-12 lead vs. North Carolina, which stormed back to within 54-50, only to lose to Kansas, 84-66. In the title game, Chalmers’ three-pointer sent it into overtime, where Kansas won, 75-68. Chalmers had 18 points and four steals, but was he the player of the game? Or was it Darrell Arthur (20 points, 10 rebounds), Brandon Rush (12 points, six boards, superior defense) or Sherron Collins (11 points, six assists, four rebounds, three steals, clutch play at the end). The answer, of course, is that it doesn’t matter. Wearing his general manager’s cap, Self had put together a talented team in which all the parts fit and made sense. Wearing his coach’s whistle, he brought them to a place where each individual put the team first. It remains his best of many great coaching jobs.
Big 12 standings:
Kansas State 10-6
Texas A&M 8-8
Texas Tech 7-9
Oklahoma State 7-9
Iowa State 4-12
2. 2011-2012: Most view the steps in Allen Fieldhouse as a means of getting to their seats. For center Jeff Withey, they have much deeper significance. Coming off a scoreless game in a loss at Missouri, Withey didn’t hustle after a loose ball in practice. Coach Bill Self made him run nearly every step in the historic basketball building. All those steps added up to the biggest step forward in Withey’s basketball career. It was as if Self went into his basement, performed a surgery and Withey walked into the world with bolts sticking out his neck and a scar coloring his forehead. Withey’s totals in the next three games: 25 points, five rebounds, three blocked shots; 18 points, 20 rebounds, seven blocked shots; 18 points, 11 rebounds, nine blocked shots. Think Self knows which buttons to push, which brain cells to wash? This team that lacked offensive firepower heading into the season made it all the way to the NCAA title game, where Anthony Davis swatted away their chances of pulling off an upset. Self convinced his team that it couldn’t outscore teams and got the most out of everyone defensively. And then there was the last game of the Border War series. Tyshawn Taylor, so hyper for much of his career, so steadily led the Jayhawks back from a 19-point deficit to an 87-86 overtime victory. Thomas Robinson (28 points, 12 rebounds) blocked a shot in the final seconds of regulation. Allen Fielhouse was one wild party that day.
Big 12 standings:
Iowa State 12-6
Kansas State 10-8
Oklahoma State 5-13
Texas A&M 4-14
Texas Tech 1-17
Check back at 4:45 for No. 1
3. 2005-06: Texas brought a ton of talent to the Big 12 race with guard Daniel Gibson, forward P.J. Tucker and center LaMarcus Aldridge. And they had experience. Kansas, on the other hand, was breaking in five new starters, once Christian Moody was moved out of the starting lineup. Three freshmen and two sophomores responded so well to Bill Self’s coaching that Kansas was able to tie Texas for the regular-season title with a 13-3 record. Not only that, the Jayhawks avenged a 25-point, regular-season loss in Austin with a 12-point victory against the Longhorns in Dallas in the Big 12 title game. The freshmen turned back into the freshmen in the NCAA tournament, but that didn’t diminish that Self had done a truly amazing job of bringing such a young team up to speed.
Big 12 standings:
Texas A&M 10-6
Oklahoma State 6-10
Texas Tech 6-10
Kansas State 6-10
Iowa State 6-10
Check back at 4:30 p.m. for No. 2
4. 2008-09: Five players from the NCAA title team were drafted and starter Russell Robinson graduated, leaving coach Bill Self with a gigantic rebuilding project. More like reloading. Sherron Collins took charge, led the team in scoring (18.9) and relied heavily on center Cole Aldrich (14.9). But it wasn’t going to work unless two freshmen could prove themselves ready for prime time. Tyshawn Taylor and Marcus Morris answered the call. Somewhat remarkably, Kansas turned an entirely new starting lineup into a 14-2 Big 12 record and came close to avenging an early season loss to Michigan State in the Sweet 16. The Spartans took charge late and won, 67-62, but nobody could say anything but that Kansas overachieved.
Big 12 standings:
Kansas State 9-7
Texas A&M 9-7
Oklahoma State 9-7
Iowa State 4-12
Texas Tech 3-13
Check back at 4:15 p.m. for No. 3
5. 2010-11: This wasn’t a basketball season as much as a drama-packed mini-series, packed with personal tragedy and team triumphs. Thomas Robinson returned to the Kansas lineup three days after his mother’s memorial service and burial. and led the Jayhawks to a 90-66 blowout victory against Kansas State in Allen Fieldhouse. Teammates and coaches rallied around Robinson all year. The Jayhawks clinched the title outright by ending Missouri’s 17-game home winning streak. In an Elite Eight game played two nights after KU routed Richmond, 77-57, in San Antonio, Kansas lost, 71-61, as a rough game from Josh Selby ended a rough season for the freshman.
Big 12 standings:
Texas A&M 10-6
Kansas State 10-6
Oklahoma State 6-10
Texas Tech 5-11
Iowa State 3-13
Check back at 4 p.m. for No. 4
6. 2013-14: Bill Self had to replace all five starters because Ben McLemore declared for the NBA draft and the other four starters were seniors.
Sure, Andrew Wiggins was the No. 1-ranked high school recruit and 7-footer Joel Embiid from Cameroon had promise, but could Embiid, with so little history with the game of basketball, develop into a player who could make significant contributions as a freshman? The answer, of course, to that question was a resounding yes. He not only contributed, he played so well at times that he dominated. Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg called Embiid the “best player in the country,” after watching him do things that 7-footers simply don’t do, especially basketball novices. Self and assistant coach Norm Roberts brought Embiid along masterfully, knowing when to lean on him and when to stroke his confidence. The back stress fracture that kept the 7-footer out of the NCAA tournament limited KU to two poorly played tourney games. Stanford eliminated the Jayhawks and made Wiggins turn invisible for a game.
Big 12 standings:
Iowa State 11-7
Kansas State 10-8
West Virginia 9-9
Oklahoma State 8-10
Texas Tech 6-12
Check back at 3:45 p.m. for No. 5.
7. 2014-2015: Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, and Joel Embiid, the No. 3 pick, both stayed at Kansas for just one year. The Jayhawks, unlike in most seasons, have no shot-blocking force in the middle. The Big 12 is loaded with point guards adept at getting to the paint, so the lack of a shot-blocker shows even more than it might in some conferences. And it took Perry Ellis a while to embrace the idea of being the team’s go-to guy. Now that Ellis is comfortable with that role and in fact even seems to love it, he was able to put Kansas in position to clinch a share of the 11th Big 12 title in a row after Iowa State stormed back from a 21-point deficit Monday night to defeat Oklahoma. Frank Mason’s steady hand all season has upgraded the point-guard position, but Wayne Selden’s unanticipated problems finishing drives has made it difficult for Kansas to avoid scoring droughts at times. Kelly Oubre has come on of late. Cliff Alexander, even before getting sidelined while the NCAA looks into a compliance issue, never emerged as the force KU had hoped.
Big 12 standings (so far):
Iowa State 11-6
West Virginia 10-6
Kansas State 8-9
Oklahoma State 7-9
Texas Tech 3-14
Check back at 3:30 for No. 6