Saturday, February 9, 2013


Opinion: This KU loss looks, sounds different than others

Kansas center Jeff Withey talks to his teammates with seconds left and the game out of reach on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013 at Noble Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

Kansas center Jeff Withey talks to his teammates with seconds left and the game out of reach on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013 at Noble Center in Norman, Oklahoma.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self talks after loss to Oklahoma

Kansas coach Bill Self talks after his team's 72-66 loss to Oklahoma on Feb. 9, 2013.

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Box score


— A reeling basketball team ranked No. 2 in the nation just two weeks ago didn’t climb all the way out of the abyss Saturday in the Noble Center, but it did scale high enough to see traces of its former image in the mirror.

Kansas didn’t perform like a No. 2 team it was or even up to the No. 5 ranking it carried into the week, but in a 72-66 loss to Oklahoma in the Noble Center, the Jayhawks looked a lot closer to those versions of themselves than to the shell-shocked bunch that lost three days earlier to last-place TCU in Fort Worth.

That’s not moral-victory talk — a language Kansas never learned — it’s reality.

KU didn’t shoot well (five of 15 three-pointers, 11 of 20 free throws) in stretching its losing streak to three games, and foul trouble exposed the team’s lack of front-court depth, but that lost look, that sluggish play didn’t make the trip to Norman.

Elijah Johnson’s struggle to get his shots to drop continued, but his postgame words and presence hit the mark.

Win or lose, terrific personal performances or terrible ones, Tyshawn Taylor never ducked his role as one of the team’s spokesmen during his senior year, a mark of leadership. Johnson hasn’t always been available to talk. He talked Saturday, took all the questions head on, and sounded a no-pouting policy he said he will enforce with teammates.

“I think it’s time to get closer, personally, as the captain, rather than pouting up,” Johnson said. “That’s the message I’m going to try to get out to my team. It’s so easy to pout right now. So easy. Nobody cares. They want results and that’s what I’m going to stress to the team, no time to pout up.”

Smart approach. It’s not as if hitting the intended target becomes easier when a shooter has a hunk of shame stuck in his eye. It becomes more difficult.

There is no reason for Johnson or anybody else to view Saturday’s loss in the same way as the Horned Frogs’ debacle that led to a players-only meeting. Johnson took exception to the view that because Kansas lost, the meeting was not productive.

“Who said that it didn’t help us?” Johnson said. “I think it did change because we looked different tonight than we did at TCU and we looked different tonight than we did at the end of Oklahoma State.”

Johnson’s intent on pointing to the sky to make sure everybody is aware it’s not falling, even if his shots aren’t either.

“With the adversity and everybody saying what they’re saying about us, with me being a team leader, I’m going to keep my head up regardless of whether the people love or hate me,” Johnson said. “I’m going to keep my head up, and I think right now that’s what I’m showing them (younger teammates) and they’re starting to realize it can turn real quick and you’ve got to take what you want and not just expect it to be handed to you.”

Asked to put his finger on exactly why this team slipped so far so quickly, Johnson didn’t claim to have the answer.

“Right now we’re trying to figure that out,” Johnson said. "You can’t ask a man who just got knocked out to count to 10. You can’t think straight right away. There’s so much going on in your head. Right now we’re just focused on getting our focus back. That’s what we’re focused on, getting our focus back.”

The Sooners had too many open jumpers and didn’t run into as much resistance in the paint as when Kansas is at its best defensively.

“You could say that to our standards, yeah, I think they probably got too many open shots,” Johnson said. “But when a team is feeling the juice, they seem to get themselves open easier when they’re confident like that, so it wasn’t a big surprise. If you’re making shots, you’re not going to let somebody keep you from getting open.”

Monday’s Allen Fieldhouse crowd can help Kansas recover said juice, but it only will return if the team answers the crowd’s roar with one of its own against Kansas State, suddenly standing alone atop the Big 12 conference standings.


Jonathan Allison 1 year, 2 months ago

time to take back the league. K-State up to bat.


6hawks 1 year, 2 months ago

Step to the top Hawks, only you can dictate how far you go.


Matt Glassman 1 year, 2 months ago

Tomorrow we find out if they're men. Let's do this.


Brian Leiker 1 year, 2 months ago

They'll be loose tomorrow. Bill will tell them they are no longer the hunted. That target is now on KSU's back. I expect a 15 pt pounding.


Slick50 1 year, 2 months ago

Everyone can analyze this to death, but the truth is we have probably the 4th or 5th most talented team in our league. You can get away with that occasionally with a supreme team effort, but we're totally lacking that this year. No player leadership doesn't help at all.

PS: EJ, leaders can't effectively lead and play as bad as you have for the last two months.


Jayhawkforever1 1 year, 2 months ago

For the first time as far as this fan can remember, K-state is going to walk into Allen Fieldhouse ranking higher than KU. If that isn't enough to rally the troops what is? Like Notgivinguo said: being a fan is being there through thick and thin. We are so so lucky to have this team. Full force ahead Monday evening, taking back our honor.


KMathis 1 year, 2 months ago

What is most concerning to me... Is the absolute implosion of Elijah Johnson over Big 12 play. He hasn't had just a couple of off games. He has been abysmal. He is definitely not a point guard, because he can't penetrate and create for his teammates. A senior, true point guard is responsible to direct the offense.... And lead. 50/50 assist to turnover ratio doesn't cut it. 20% shooting over last 6 games doesn't cut it. Sub 50% free throw shooting doesn't cut it. The pep talk hasn't translated to the court. Our guards simply are not winning the matchup against opposing team guards. I've seen enough of the Elijah Johnson experiment as a starting point guard. Let him come off the bench and provide a spark that way. I don't want my senior starting point guard shooting 0-11 or 1-9 to start games. CREATE for your teammates. I will admit that it's hard to create for guys like Withey who fumble passes into the post off their face and out of bounds. It's almost been comical to watch our seniors "rushing" on offense and bricking away at the foul line (Johnson/Young).


notgivinguo 1 year, 2 months ago

I've read peoples comments for years and have never posted on here, but I decided I wanted to say something. We as KU fans are the luckiest and the most spoiled fans in college basketball! Most fans can only dream of having the success that KU has had. Our team is struggling right now and there is no doubt about it. However, the last thing these College KIDS (not NBA ALLSTARS) need is people bashing them. If you’re not a good enough fan to support them through the crappy times then you aren't a fan pure and simple! Being frustrated is one thing, throwing them under the bus because you’re a big baby is another. This team could lose all their remaining games and I will still wear my KU gear with pride and love them. These guys are Jayhawks, and I know that might not mean something to some of you on here, but to me it means they are on MY TEAM and I stand by them rather there winning or losing! Make fun of me all you want, but I'm proud to be a Jayhawk and there will be brighter days ahead!


BCRavenJHawkfan 1 year, 2 months ago

Sorry, don't see this next game falling in the win column. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it is one win the rest of the way out. I hope I'm wrong, but these guys have lost all basic fundemental skills. And with no outside threat the inside will remain packed.


Geekinout 1 year, 2 months ago

Releford, a 5th year redshirt Senior, towards the end of the game passed the ball at the top of the 3pt line. It was barely deflected by his defender towards mid-court. He didn't hustle or even act with a sense of urgency to get it back. That is what's wrong with this team. Leaders not stepping up, not protecting key possessions, and not hustling. E. Johnson has also been plagued by this all year. Bigs are also as soft as I've ever seen on a KU basketball team. Scary when I can say Christian Moody played with more tenacity. I still think this team is great and has the potential to make a deep run come March Madness.


Matt Glassman 1 year, 2 months ago

Keep your eyes on first half perimeter defense tomorrow night. In the last three losses this weakness has resulted in the Hawks being in a big hole and having to play from behind the rest of the game- something this group doesn't do well.


jdonne44 1 year, 2 months ago

Somehow, this team has become painful to watch. They are SO tight offensively. The ball moved fairly well yesterday but the players didn't. We are down to Withey, and to a lesser extent, McLemore, as the offense. The other teams have this figured out, so they are forcing the ball into EJ's hands or to Young, neither of whom can score. Withey feels the load, so he is often forcing things that aren't there. EJ is not setting his feet when he shoots, and his drives are really off the mark. He probably needs to square up and try some mid range jumpers to get his stroke back. Ben is now tentative. He should be on the free throw line 6-8 times a game, and Releford needs to step up and take some of the offensive load, which we know he can (but he should not be handling the ball in the open court).

They might as well just get loose and try having fun, because whatever they are doing is not working. We were better yesterday but really, not that good. We had the ball stolen in the open court several times, took a lot of bad shots, let OU have a ton of open looks, and were atrocious on the foul line.


miajhwk 1 year, 2 months ago

reality check

point guard. it sucks, but ej has to go. statistically, he's a mess. i think he's a head case, big time. tk, you point out some nice comments he made yesterday, but great leaders are not born overnight, and this guy has had 3+ years and has apprenticed with some of the best (sherron, tt). comes off as saying what he thinks people want to hear. the one thing he said that did make sense..."results." his results? disaster, and he's had all the time in the world to figure it out. to be clear, the only thing that matters -- the only thing -- is results. W's and not L's. period. not post-game comments.

ej lacks sound judgement about when to shoot and when to pass. he's dished while driving instead of drawing fouls, taken poor shots when the lane was clear instead of driving hard for the easy layup, given up open 3's at crunch time, and hoisted 3's with 20 seconds on the shot clock mid-game. he seems to be missing explosiveness on drives and rebound attempts. meanwhile tharpe looks much more like he's got his head in the game when he's on the floor. anyway, enough of the annecdotes, the numbers over the 3 losses to osu, tcu, and ou:

      min     fgm     fga     fg%     ftm     ast     to     ast/to     pts     pts/min

ej 101 9 37 24% 3 11 10 1.1:1 26 .257 avg 33.7 3 12.3 1 3.7 3.3 8.7

nt 66 8 27 30% 6 8 4 2:1 26 .394 avg 22 2.7 9 2 2.7 1.3 8.7

the formatting is screwing the table up bigtime, but here's the takeaway: despite 2/3 of the playing time, tharpe has as many points, and twice as many made free throws, while sporting a fg% that's 25% greater than ej, an assist-to-turnover ratio that's nearly double, and scoring points at a 50% greater pace than ej.

draw your own conclusions about who should handle the ball.


Tony Bandle 1 year, 2 months ago


What a bunch of crybabies. We've had 10 years with only 9 home losses, 8 conference Championships, two Final Fours, a NC, a couple dozen straight NCAA appearances, numerous NBA players and so called "fans" are jumping ship and demanding Self be replaced after three losses!!!


In the last two seasons we've lost The Twins, Josh, Sherron, TROB and Tyshawn..all in or involved in pro ball.

Did any of you stop and think why we have four senior starters?? Maybe because it's possible that they just aren't good enough for the NBA. I for one am not giving up and will be travelling from St.Louis for the Texas game. I have not seen the Hawks lose in Lawrence over 22 years.......and I am not going to start now!!!



EdgarMarsalla 1 year, 2 months ago

I don't care what anyone says, that performance on top of the three to five before it and KU's performance against the Las Vegas betting line since New Years causes me to believe that we have two, perhaps three starters auditioning for Gilette razor commercials. Yesterday it was the freethrows and missed layups again that cased it for me.


Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

Put ya shooz on, EJ--time to SCHOOL Rodriguez of KStink again, just like you did in that Hawktagon/Elijahgon building over there in Manlesshattan.


W Keith Swinehart II 1 year, 2 months ago

Team is better than they are playing. EJ is showing the right attitude. They are all better shooters and ball handlers than they are showing. I remember Larry Brown's team in '88 looked bad at midseason. They played K-State one night and suddenly looked crisp and confident. They won that game, the next and the next, losing only to OU in the season stretch. The rest of the story is hanging in the rafters. The boys can do it. They just need to know that. EJ seems to know it. Now, make like Nike.


DollarDancer 1 year, 2 months ago

Monday night wish:

Tharpe EJ McL Traylor (in to rebound and foul) Withey

Rele first off for Tharpe Young. Ellis. Roberts make up the rest of significant bench minutes.


KawJayhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

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FL_Jhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

I agree that KU looked much better. Just wish we could hit free throws!

I also agree that losses can build character. And if we did indeed reach the bottom of the pit against TCU, then the OU game means we are climbing back out. I hope we emerge with the old December team tomorrow but, if we don't, we will eventually, and hopefully in time for deep run next month.

But, fans, please, note that EJ feels he is hated by many fans. That is not cool, fans! This player, more than most, is a true crimson and blue Jayhawk. We can certainly be disappointed about his play and wonder what is going on, but dissing on him can't be helping, and to have his last season here be marred by selfish and immature fans just isn't cool. Or classy.


yates33333 1 year, 2 months ago

If OU plays from now on like they did in the first half against KU they might make the final 4.


Brianna Zaleski 1 year, 2 months ago


Apologize for jinxing this team with your article on the rest of the big 12 fighting for second place. This is obviously your fault. Be a man and admit your misteak, then vow never to do it again. Lesson learned. We will forgive you.


down_the_river 1 year, 2 months ago

Anyone else notice that every stoppage in the second half you can see EJ stooped over, grabbing his shorts, dazed expression. Even in one of the team huddles he's stooped over, not able to stand upright. Not the message you want to send to help bolster your team's confidence in your ability to set the pace and control the action. Don't know if he's ill, or out of condition, but seems problematic.


jayhawkinATL 1 year, 2 months ago

It's between the ears for us right now...nothing more, nothing less.


PhearThePhog 1 year, 2 months ago

The KU-KSU game is often times not won on ranking, but won on pride. Listening to EJ I'm certainly hopeful that we'll see our Hawks back come Monday night to squelch purple pride in our house. Beware of the Phog!!!.


DollarDancer 1 year, 2 months ago

Self is obviously missing Danny and his instruction.

Self must also be missing Larry Brown attending practices and helping out.

This lineup needs tweaking. Young needs time at the 3. We miss Peters brawn and space filling so why not rip Lucas redshirt? Releford should try being a 6th man. Tharpe should start. When we go small... White at the 4. Ellis and Traylor should only play if rebounding show them tape of Frosh TROB.

Self looks lazy running out the same old same old since Europe. Larry went thru 4 starting point guards in '88 and eventually played a football player significant minutes. Time to give Niko Roberts a chance running the point (in limited Tharpe spells)?


AsadZ 1 year, 2 months ago

I posted this in another thread as well.

I feel that Tharpe should be starting PG.

EJ has lost his confidence and the idea of being team leader is taking further toll on him.

Coming off the bench may help him relax and play with free mind.

Tharpe seems to be vocal and is playing with energy and hustle.

Furthermore, this experience will benefit him for next year.


Janet Scott 1 year, 2 months ago

My fellow Jayhawkers, it’s time to momentarily divert the national sport fan’s attention away from the current mediocre play of this KU round ball team. I suggest the KU Strong Hall brass seek a one-evening pass for the five cons serving time in jail for the KU ticket scalping scam of several years ago, and sit these five clowns immediately behind the KU bench at Monday’s Manure U game in AFH; and then have ESPN pan the camera on these clowns repeatedly during the game. ESPN’s Holly R could interview the head ticket maven about her new book, “I Bought a Ticket to the Big House”. One of the other five cons could hold up a hand-made sign for the cameras, “Hi Mom. Don’t Worry! I’m Here on a Free Ticket!” That would add a nice diversion away from the current KU struggles taking place on the basketball court. Oh, and by the way, kick butts Monday night, Jayhawks; provide no mercy to purple-clad Manure U.


nostradavid 1 year, 2 months ago

Digging your way out of a deep hole builds character, one step at a time.

Whupping up on K-State is just what the doctor ordered!


IrishCharlie 1 year, 2 months ago

only the true Kool-aide crowd take a loss to an unranked team as some sort of moral victory.


Rock_Chalk_25 1 year, 2 months ago

I guess I can't comment on the game against TCU (busy at work), but I'm not one of the fans who's giving up on the season quite yet. Yes, we're offensively inept at times. And if we play nonchalant defense like the past few games---weak closeouts, bad angles, and suspect effort---I could definitely see us losing the first weekend of the tourney. But just like every analyst has pointed out, this is a year where ANY top 25 team could win it all.

I think Self is the best coach for our program, but man was it weird to watch him switch to that zone. Any true follower of the program knows how Coach Self is; he's a die-hard man-to-man kind of guy. So as I watched us switch to a triangle-and-two, I kind of envisioned Self waving the white flag. Actually, now that I think about it, I liked it as a change of pace kind of defens, but it was clear as Self stayed with it that he had no confidence in our man defense. Those offensive boards by OU KILLED us.

Anyways, I don't anybody anywhere can tell us if we can pull it together in time. But all I know is that Self has the track record to prove it and these players have proved themselves championship worthy before. Rock Chalk!


Konkis Dongington III 1 year, 2 months ago

Today's loss didn't really upset me. While I don't think you can ever have a good loss, there is such a thing as a quality loss, and I'll take that. We played our offense pretty well, even though we missed some shots. We turned to ball over, but not too much. The only really sore spot was our free throw shooting. I hope everyone takes a few hours out of their days tomorrow to do some work on that.

Looking at the box score, we got things going about right. The only thing I'd like to see differently from the offense is more Relly, less EJ. EJ's ineffectiveness driving for layups is too big of a liability. Even with his mediocre 3pt percentage, he's be better off coming off screens and shooting 3s than getting into the paint. Put the ball in Releford's or BMac's hands when the shot clock dips below 10s. EJ isn't doing anything with it.

Defensively, it was nice to see the triangle and 2 come out again and it allowed us that chance we needed. That said, we've got to change screen defense below the free throw line. Trail every screen. Don't go over. Every time we go over a baseline screen, we get burned. A lot went right in terms of the kinds of shots we forced them into, but we need to do a better job contesting them especially W, who can't be afraid to close out on the perimeter against bigs that can make 2pt jumpers.

So this loss is a set back, but not a step back. It may be a lateral step or a baby step forward. We need a much bigger step for Monday, though. I think we'll get it. Bust the slump and come back. We're going to be the ones hungry for a win and the Phog will be rockin'. Can't wait.


Michael Johnson 1 year, 2 months ago

i didn't see much difference. i saw lazy passes, sloppy turnovers, bad defense and guys afraid to shoot.


Pitthawk34 1 year, 2 months ago

People will come, People will definately come. Maybe our team has not performed but it is our time to perform. It is our time to show our team enough is enough. It is our time to show we got their back no matter what. It is our time to show the Jayhawk spirit that sill never die in vain. It is our time to pave the way to a win No matter all the negativity, this is our time ....Monday...2/11/2013...WILL U be there? I Will...Lets bring it.


esubrett 1 year, 2 months ago

Talk is cheap. Time to put it into action.


SaltLakeHawk 1 year, 2 months ago

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Boouk 1 year, 2 months ago

If we just beat KSU and destroy Texas in front of Julius we suddenly have some momentum and confidence going into the rematch against OSU.


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