Monday, March 28, 2011


  1. Yeah, HH and I looked the same way the rest of the day Sunday.

    March Madness is a harsh mistress. At least we can take consolation that UNC and Duke didn't make it either.

    Dunno if I can fault Self for this one. VCU was red hot, the refs were hostile, and our open shots just wouldn't fall. That's more or less it.

    My only problem with Self in this tourney was earlier when he kept telling the players how tight they were and reminding them of UNI. I just don't see how that could have helped.

  2. It's a shame that the national media is lumping this in with Bradley, Bucknell, and UNI. It's a tougher Elite 8 loss than the one to UCLA, but the results are the same.

    Bad March? No, just a bad Sunday. Unlike last year we looked great in the first three rounds, and sure looked loose against Richmond.

    Is it a "choke" if we were to lose to Butler in the Final Four? They are an 8 seed after all.

    When you combine the expectations with the very nature of the tournament, this nasty media frenzy is to be expected. We advanced further than any 1 seed in the tourney, but MSNBC calls this our worst March exit ever.

    We won the crown three years ago, and if anything, overachieved all season. I'm in no mood to bitch about this team or this coach.

    So Tyshawn was great, the twins basically produced. We got very little out of our bench and role players.

    What an eerie start to the game. The opening play had Marcus Morris getting fouled and calmly sinking two free throws. We didn't look tight. But soon the calls would be going against the Morri and that the whole team would struggle mightily from the line.

  3. I'm surprised to hear that about the national media. I thought for sure that losing to a hot team in the regional final could never be lumped with those awful losses...

    I agree with the Lee's about the season and the team. And as for Self, the post-game press conference reminded me of how fortunate we are to have such a well-spoken and thoughtful coach.

  4. The problem is it's another damn Mid-Major -- always Self's Achilles Heel for whatever reason. But VCU didn't really play like a Mid-M; to me they looked more like a Big 12 team. I still can't understand why we were so shell-shocked. It should have been right in our wheelhouse.

    I don't know if this ranks with our worst upsets, but I do have to admit it shocked me more than any of the others since the '90s. The way we'd been playing, I just never saw it coming.

  5. Yeah, 4 losses to mid majors in 8 years. No other major program is doing that (except maybe Syracuse, now that I think of it).

    Something is wrong with our motivation and mindset in these games. We always seem way too tight. I mean why the hell were we down to Boston U at the half? There was no reason to be that tight in that game.

    Self needs to work on having our guys relaxed at gametime. What we've been doing isn't working.

    I guess the question is would you rather be UNC, where you don't lose these games, but miss the tournament every couple of years.

  6. UNC did lose to Mason in '06, as did UConn, and Duke lost to none other than VCU around the same time. Florida's now been eliminated by Butler two years in a row. So it's not just us.

    And hey, at least we're not Purdue, Notre Dame, Pitt, Vandy, etc. -- teams that do nothing BUT choke in the tourney.

  7. Interesting piece from contrarian Gregg Doyel:

    "So Bill Self choked? I don't see how. In addition to what has been happening around college basketball in the past decade, look at what happened Sunday to Kansas. Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed are seniors who simply had a horrible shooting day. It happens. It's not a reflection on coaching that Reed and Morningstar missed 9 of 10 generally open looks on 3-pointers. . .

    The little guys aren't craning their necks anymore. They're stepping on necks. In the past six years, UConn has lost to George Mason and San Diego. Syracuse lost to Butler and Vermont. Pittsburgh lost to Pacific and Bradley. Ohio State? To Siena. Some of those teams haven't reached the NCAA tournament every year, though, which means they've avoided the appearance of choking in one game by failing over the course of a whole season. Better, right?

    Mock Self for some of Kansas' season-ending losses if you like, but consider this your own personal Twitter moment. The game is changing, changing to the point that 30 years from now, when we look back on Bill Self's career, we'll care only about the national title (or titles) he won. We won't dote on the losses that seem so glaring right now, because by the year 2040 we'll understand: College basketball evolved during the Bill Self era. Chipmunks eat alligators. They eat alligators all the time."

    In the past we lost to senior heavy mid major teams who played like it was 1980 and didn't make mistakes. But we had three seniors on the court on Sunday, and they played as bad as anybody. We had a ton of juniors, too. So, it ain't about that.

    VCU didn't play like they were a patient relic of basketball's past. They sped us up, went apeshit and won.

  8. Correction: Florida lost to BYU last year, Butler this year. Hey, two B-teams in successive years -- sounds familiar.

  9. Thanks for the Doyel comments, Chris. Sounds exactly right to me.

    I saw Jesse Newell over at kusports getting really down on Self, but the numbers just don't seem as bad as he thinks.

    And thanks for the helpful list of other teams' "bad losses," DGL. But really, as Doyel suggests, the mid-major label just doesn't (or at least shouldn't) mean what it used to.

    In any case, if I watch any games this weekend, I'll certainly be cheering for the chipmunks and not the alligators.