Chiggity-check yourself before you wreck, Bill Self.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s basketball season, y’all. The hustle and bustle of yesterday’s signing festivities has everybody jacked up about football, which hasn’t happened in a long time, but if you neglected to watch any hoops last night, you really missed out.
Some highlights were an Indiana State upset over Creighton (take that, Doug McDermott), our boy Travis Ford taking it to Baylor in one of the more exciting finishes I’ve seen this season, and TCU beating the Jayhawks for their first ever Big 12 win.
Read that again. TCU. Beat. Kansas. The Horned Frogs hadn’t won a league game so far this season, and were so bad that even among all their conference losses, only one was by single digits. CBS’ Jerry Palm tweeted that “In terms of RPI difference between the teams, TCU’s win is the biggest upset in the 20 years I’ve been tracking numbers.” This came on the heels of a loss to Oklahoma State, making it Kansas’ first back-to-back losses in quite some time.
The real story, though, isn’t the Jayhawks’ defeat as much as it is Bill Self’s attacks on his own players. A lot of the time, when a team loses, you’ll see the coach put the blame on himself. He might point out a couple mistakes that some players made, but ultimately, he’ll say that it’s his job to fix those mistakes, and he didn’t. Cal does it all the time: humble your players after a win, praise them after a loss. It’s Coach-Speak 101.
Self, though, has taken a slightly, er, different approach. After the loss to Oklahoma State, he really tore into veteran Elijah Johnson. “We don’t have a point guard. It’s sad. We were definitely a better team with him sitting down next to us and putting somebody else in the game.” Kinda rough for a guy playing out of position. When Archie has a rough game, by contrast, Cal writes a blog about how we should continue to support him, and points out how hard he’s working. And yet somehow Cal’s the villain?
Self was at it again last night after the loss to TCU, only this time not picking on a single player so much.
It was the worst team that Kansas has ever put on the floor since Dr. [James] Naismith was there. I think he had some bad teams when he lost to Topeka YMCA in the first couple years. But for the first half, there hasn’t been a team play worse than that offensively. That hasn’t happened, anywhere.
That might smack of hyperbole, but it might also be right. The Jayhawks didn’t score for the first seven minutes of the game, and had only 13 at halftime. And keep in mind that this is against a team with an RPI over 200. It might be the only win so far this year deserving of a court storming.
So is Bill Self using some weird subterfuge strategy to get in the heads of his players “Billy Clyde” style? Or has he finally snapped not just a win streak, but his temper? You ever hear a coach that wasn’t Bobby Knight or BCG talk about his players that way? Times like these, folks, appreciate Cal.