With less than five minutes left in the game, Oklahoma decided to go to the Hack-a-Shaq or Poke-a-Doke strategy, which ever saying you prefer. Lon Kruger said to his team that he was not confident that his team could beat Kansas straight up, so he intentionally fouled the Jayhawks worst free throw shooter for 5 straight possessions. All the while, Bill Self told his players that he WAS confident in their ability through that same stretch and lost the game.
Big picture I can understand why Bill Self left Doke in the game, but that doesn’t mean that I have to agree with it. He left him in because he wanted to show him that he was confident that he was able to make the free throws in order to win. Instead, what happened was that you could see any confidence that Doke had leaving his body with each free throw he missed.
I don’t necessarily believe that Bill Self was out coached by Lon Kruger, I just believe that Kruger’s plan worked out better to end the game. Although I’m not a fan of the message that Kruger sent to his players by having them play that way, but when you watch Kansas win 13 straight Big 12 titles I can’t really say that I blame him. I also don’t believe that any of the Big 12 teams really care who wins the Big 12 title this year, just as long as it isn’t Kansas….. again.
After I slept on it and calmed down, I did finally come to terms on why I believed that Coach Self left him in the game and I’m ok with it. After all, Kansas doesn’t have a chance of getting out of the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament if our best inside presence has to come out of every game with 5 minutes left. I just really hope that Coach’s plan doesn’t completely backfire and make Doke’s confidence in his free throw shooting even worse, but I guess we will just have to wait and see.