Any of those views would make you more optimistic than me, because you know what I saw last night? I saw us lose, just like I’ve seen us lose ten other times this season. I don’t care if it was close, nor do I care that it was against one of the nation’s elite teams. We lost this one for the same reason we lost all the others ‒ we’re not very good.
So we got close in the second half. What do you think was the reason for that? That we became basketball studs all the sudden, or that the Jayhawks, after being shown very early that they were the dominant team, took their foot off the pedal, got lazy, got sloppy, and didn’t play well on their longest road trip of the year?
I’ll take the latter. If we are still capable of playing as poorly as we did in the first half, then how good could we possibly be? We didn’t hit a shot from the floor in the first eight minutes. We went down by as many as 15, and it should have been closer to 30. It was every bit as sad as the stretch we had to start the second half against Purdue.
As long as we’re still doing that, I’m not going to believe we’re good, average or even improving.
Any visions of success from Monday night are fool’s gold. As they always do, the team that jumped out to a huge lead while saying to themselves, “Wow, these guys are really bad,” relaxed a bit, and we made a run. Then they woke up and finished us off. They still won’t have to wash their uniforms before their next game, because they did not sweat. We hit some shots and they played, by their standards, poorly. That’s it. If they had shot the same free throw percentage we had, the final score would’ve been 70-56 ‒ and they still would’ve played poorly.
I’m not ready to believe that something positive came from this game. If it did, and I’m wrong, then we’ll see it over the next three games. At that point, I’d be happy to admit that I was wrong about this one.
That leads us nicely into the good and the bad …
We can get to .500 in conference play. We’re 2-5 in the conference, but 5-5 is not unreachable. Our next three are @Texas Tech (2-5), Texas (1-5) and @TCU (0-7). Texas Tech is on the road and won’t be easy, but is winnable. Texas, we beat earlier in their building, but we sort of stole that one in overtime. TCU is also on the road, but we shouldn’t lose to them anywhere. No one should lose to them, ever.
Juwan Staten made some shots. If there’s one player I’m moderately excited about, it’s Staten. He’s great off the bounce, and he defends. If he could start scoring for us, that would be a big deal. Maybe then I wouldn’t have to see Jabarie Hinds taking so many contested 18-foot jumpers and twisting, falling, behind-the-head, no-chance-in-hell layups.
Aaric Murray found himself. After a poor start, Aaric Murray put together a stretch of good offensive basketball. There’s some really strong insight on that from Geoff Coyle here.
We were destroyed on the glass. It’d be a little unfair of me to rake our guys over the coals for getting outrebounded by Kansas, but at the same time, we just can’t lose the rebounding battle. This team can’t afford to, but they did, and they did so substantially ‒ 34 to 25. In 19 minutes, Deniz Kilicli had one rebound.
There has been no progress offensively. Offensively, we’re five monkeys humping the same football, but worse than that, we’re only marginally better than we were in November. The lack of progress is difficult to understand. How does a team look this confused and unorganized on offense this late in the season? The ball movement and play away from the ball are non-existent.