Re: Bill Self needs to retire or something.
I think taking three different programs to the Elite Eight isn't too shabby. What's funny is how the Kansas fans constantly remind Illinois fans that Self recruited the '05 Illini team- forgetting that Dee was not only the only high school All-American, but the only guy who was even a Top 50 high school player on that team aside from McBride- yet this was his first Elite Eight team that he didn't inherit from someone else, and the last two had multiple McDonald's All-Americans (Williams, Griffin, Cook on the '01 Illini; Miles, Simien and Giddens on '04 Kansas).
He's obviously a fantastic recruiter, a great motivator and one of the nation's best defensive coaches, but as his former assistants have moved on it's become quite obvious how much he relied on Billy Gillespie and Norm Roberts on his bench in years past. KU's in-game adjustments were absolutely nonexistent tonight. Believe it or not, I don't hate Bill Self; he won a lot of games and brought in a lot of good players in his three years at Illinois. I won't lie, the vindicative part of me loved it, but a small part of me, the part of me that appreciates what he did here, felt bad watching their lack of preparation or second-half adjustments. I know they're a young team, but they're an experienced young team. I know UCLA plays nasty defense, but Kansas has more athleticism and ballhandlers than just about anyone. They should have been able to handle it.
But there have been some wonderfully accomplished coaches who took even longer than Self to reach the Final Four. Should Kansas have won today and gone to the Final Four? Yeah, probably. Was it a huge upset? Not really. UCLA was a Top 5 team that was ranked higher than Kansas for the majority of the year. Kansas has more athleticism, more talent. But UCLA has Final Four experience and more veterans.
There's a decent chance that KU's entire team returns next year, and if they do it'll probably be one of the best college teams this decade, right up there with '01 Duke, '01 Arizona, '04 UConn, '05 UNC, and '05 Illinois.
All in all, you can't really apologize for Self too much. You reach the Elite Eight with the better team this many times- and I know GT was seeded higher in '04, but Kansas was better- you should win eventually.
But I also think that too much emphasis is put on the tournament. It's the most important thing, but it isn't the only thing. Taking three schools to the Elite Eight, winning all the Big Ten and Big XII regular season and tournament titles he's won, winning 3/4ths of his games at Illinois and KU....he doesn't have to apologize for all that much, and he'll probably reach the Final Four sooner rather than later.