Written by: Joe Ryan
Twitter: @wingspansports (follow for all your College basketball needs) (we’ll follow back, you won’t regret it)
So, if you’re a Kansas fan, like myself, you just saw our guys get destroyed by a very good Texas Tech team (a sneaky Final Four team maybe?) but I mean Kansas got destroyed. It got to a point that it was so bad, Kansas was down 16 at one point and NEVER led in the game. That just NEVER happens in Allen Fieldhouse.
So this season has sucked so far, it really has. Not going to sugarcoat it for anyone out there. It has sucks. Kansas loses Frank Mason, Josh Jackson and Landen Lucas, and now this current team is extremely thin with no depth at all due to Billy Preston still not being eligible. Sure do they have talent? Absolutely. And a lot of it but here’s why Kansas is not playing well:
1. They are to dependent on guys who didn’t have a big role last year
- Devonte Graham is the ONLY player on this current Kansas roster that was asked to do a lot from last years roster. Yes, he is playing well, but we’re asking him to be Frank Mason and he is not.
- Josh Jackson, arguably, was the best one and done freshman EVER at Kansas. We are asking Lagareld Vick to fill that his void. It’s just not gonna happen. And even though Vick is doing a good job of filling Jackson’s role, there is nobody filling Vick’s role from last year. Understand? Because there is no depth.
- Svi is taking on a much bigger role, and even though statistically wise he’s having a great year, when he’s cold from 3, he’s basically invisible out there at times.
- Malik Newman just hasn’t played up to what he needs to be at yet. He’s improving every game BUT he needs to be last years Devonte Graham and has yet to do that.
2. There are no dogs on this team.
- Listen, these guys are trying but it’s just not there. You can tell something is off. It just seems like these guys are lacking passion, lacking energy and enthusiasm when they’re playing these games. There is no Frank Mason, Sherron Collins, Josh Jackson, Morris twins, Thomas Robinson, guys who would just stare you down and say “you’re not winning this game.” Bill Self called this team the softest team he’s ever had, and as he says that every year, this year is the year he ACTUALLY means it. This team can’t get any softer and they don’t have that dog or leader that says “follow me, we’re not losing this game.” Somebody on this team has to step up and take on that role. They need to start talking trash and acting like they are the best team in the Big 12, because right now, they simply are not acting like it.
- The defense has been atrocious and his all goes back to having a leader and a dog out there. There seems to be no communication, no switching, no energy to get back on defense. They pick up LAZY fouls that get other teams in the bonus, to the line and momentum. Kansas defense has been piss poor and there is no other way to put it.
Listen, Kansas lost 3 games so far in this young year and have all come on a home court (1 at the Sprint Center.). When the rankings come out on Monday they’re gonna be ranked low, if at all (depending on the TCU game on Saturday).
So as much as I bashed Kansas here is why I’m holding out on panicking.
1. Bill Self
- If you think for ONE damn Second that Bill Self is not gonna have this team coming for blood soon, you need to be checked into a mental hospital. He is gonna scream, he is going to cuss, he is going to yell but he is going to get this team ready. I would not be shocked to see this team pull out a 10 game winning streak soon. Bill Self is going to light a fire under their ass and get this team ready to go.
2. There were some positives in the Texas Tech game
- Yes, they never led throughout the entire game and yes they played terrible and deserved to lose but here’s what they did well. They got to the free throw line and when the three wasn’t falling, they drove the paint. This is the first game we’ve seen all year in which Kansas has done that and it worked. Kansas kept chipping away and chilling away, credit Texas Tech for never giving up the lead and costly turnovers by KU (which I remind you, is RARE) but they drove the paint and got and-ones and went to the line. It seemed as if hey found a new identity, especially when the threes aren’t falling.
3. Reassurance is finally coming
- Listen, Sam Cunliffe is bringing much needed energy off the bench for Kansas and that’s all he needs to do now. But Billy Preston and Silvio de Sousa are going to be eligible very very soon and thats gonna help KU a lot. Bill Self is dying to go to a 3 guard, 2 big lineup and having a starting 5 of :
Pg: Devonte Graham
Sf: Lagareld Vick
Pf: Billy Preston
C: Udoka Azibuke
Is going to help tremendously. Kansas defense will improves, the scoring off the bench with improve and they will have much needed depth to control the game. So yes, the is Kansas team is bad now but wait 1 week and tell me how they look.
4. Kansas won’t win the Big 12 this year and that’s completely okay.
God forbid Kansas won’t win the Big 12 ONE year in the last 14. Kansas has rattled off 13 straight Big 12 titles in a row, tying UCLA for the most of all time. Guess what? Kansas streak is more impressive. Why? Better competition, better players, better teams. So, Kansas streak is better than UCLA.
Everyone is just so caught up on the streak and when’s it gonna end and what team is gonna end it. Guess what? Who gives a damn. They already have it. The record is there’s. Now it’s just cherry on top of the sundae. It’s time to stop focusing on the streak and just play basketball. It’s okay if it ends this year. Not all things last.
But guess what? Do you know how determined Kansas is gonna be when they lose the streak and they play in the BIG 12 tournament and then going into the NCAA tournament, knowing if they want a ring this year, it’ll be winning the whole damn thing?
Who the hell would want to play that Kansas team. A team that is loose and ready to go?
Guess how many Final Fours Kansas has been in since the streak started? TWO!
Now it’s not easy getting to a Final Four but what can’t Kansas say they’ve been to 1 Final Four the 1 year they didn’t win the Big 12?
It’s January. Don’t Panic. Kansas once lost 3 in a row in Big 12 play. They’re gonna be just fine.
Just breathe and Rock Chalk.