What Went Wrong?

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Kansas’ 62-55 loss to TCU last night was one of the biggest upsets in Jayhawk history.  After easy wins, such as their 74 to 66 win over Ohio State, Kansas’ performance was not the way it has been since the start of the season.  For the first time since 2006, the Kansas Jayhawks have lost back-to-back games. The big question is, “What is going on with KU?”

KU can not score 13 points in the first half and shoot 13.6% from the field, both stats at their lowest since 1988, and expect to win.  Wide open jump shots and seemingly easy lay-ups were missed, which is inexcusable for coach Bill Self’s team.  The fundamentals were not there for the Jayhawks.

AP Photo / Sharon Ellman
AP Photo / Sharon Ellman

In the game as a whole, the Jayhawks shot 29.6% from the field on 61 attempted shots, along with 13.6% from three point range.  Although KU was able to beat TCU on the glass, winning the rebound battle 44-34, the second-chance points would not fall.

Ben McLemore played decently, although below his average in scoring 15 points, but grabbed nine rebounds for the Hawks.  Elijah Johnson’s play was horribly ineffective.  Although he scored eight points, they all came off desperation shots in the final three minutes.  His leadership was nonexistent, a major role in Kansas’ loss.

Defensively, Kansas played very well in the first half.  TCU was held to 22 first half points, proving great defensive play by Kansas.  However, the Kansas defensive effort vanished late in the game.  KU had multiple opportunities to cut the lead on defensive stops, but TCU kept scoring.  It was as if Kansas was only giving effort on the offensive side down the stretch.

The most disappointing aspect in Kansas’ loss was knowing how easily they could have won.  TCU missed a hefty amount of free throws in the final minutes, giving Kansas multiple opportunities to score and tie, or even win, the game.

For those Jayhawks’ fans who believe this year’s team is better than last year, Bill Self begs to differ.  “It was the worst team that Kansas ever put on the floor, since Dr. Naismith was there,” coach Bill Self said after Monday night’s loss, “I think he had some bad teams when he lost to Topeka YMCA and things like that in the first couple years.  But for the first half, there hasn’t been team play worse than that offensively.”

This Kansas team has a long way to go.  They have the potential to be a championship-caliber team, but changes have to be made.  KU has been not utilizing their big men, which has left them vulnerable when not shooting well from the field. Kansas travels to Oklahoma for a tough road game on Saturday, looking to rebound from an embarrassing game that gave TCU its first Big XII win.

Drew Agnello

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