Lubbock, Texas From now on, the sun sets in the east and rises in the west. Rain falls from blue skies. High temperatures make water freeze. Vegetables taste phenomenal, and doctors and dentists alike recommend a steady diet of candy bars and doughnuts.
How else can such a shocking pair of college basketball results occur on the same night, involving the same school, 663 miles apart?
It’s difficult to say which Wednesday night outcome was more difficult to predict. Was it Texas Tech, such a non-descript, talent-challenged Big 12 team that few students bother to go to the games anymore, upsetting Kansas, 84-65, the nation’s No. 9 team, inside empty United Spirit Arena? Or was it the KU women shocking No. 5 Baylor, 69-45, in Allen Fieldhouse?
This much is certain: The Kansas team that clinched at least a share of the conference title wasn’t the one celebrating.
Sherron Collins’ outside shots were drifting as if he were playing outdoors on a windy day. He didn’t let that stop him from chucking. To the detriment of the team, Collins regressed to the days when he trusted himself far more than he trusted teammates. He made three of 19 shots and one of 10 three-pointers. When Collins is on, he’s all-world and makes everybody better. When he’s not, he’s the last to know it.
Cole Aldrich made just one of five field-goal attempts and had just three rebounds and was limited to 19 minutes by foul trouble.
Marcus Morris, the team’s most productive player with 11 points and eight rebounds, was whistled for his second technical. His coach, Bill Self, earned his third. All those free points stymied KU’s comeback effort.
Marcus and twin brother, Markieff, even by their standards, fouled excessively.
Reserve Mario Little checked into the game, tossed up an ill-advised fade-away and checked back out.
Texas Tech senior guard Alan Voskuil lit up Brady Morningstar, KU’s perimeter defensive stopper on most nights. Nothing Kansas tried to slow down Voskuil worked. He scored a career-high 35 points on Senior Night.
The students were so fired up afterward they stormed half the court. There weren’t enough of them in attendance to storm the whole court. Many of them long since had written off basketball in favor of looking forward to spring football. After all, this victory improved the Red Raiders’ record to 3-12 in the Big 12 and 13-17 overall.
Somehow, the same Kansas players who looked like men standing on top of the basketball world in slaughtering Missouri three days earlier, regressed all the way back to November, all the way back into the fetal position.
Against Mizzou, KU looked like a contender for the national title. Against Texas Tech, it looked like a first-round flameout.
How did they get this bad this quickly?
“I think we were a little high on ourselves because we won a few tough games and knowing we were in first place,” Marcus Morris said. “I think this is a great game for us to know we still aren’t as good as we think we are, and we can improve on every aspect, as far as rebounding, as far as just making shots and as far as knowing who we need to get the ball to.”
Consider the Jayhawks humbled.