Saturday, March 9, 2013


Opinion: KU’s edge missing against Baylor

The KU bench watches the final seconds of KU's 81-58 loss to the Baylor Bears Saturday in Waco.

The KU bench watches the final seconds of KU's 81-58 loss to the Baylor Bears Saturday in Waco.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self talks after loss to Baylor

Kansas coach Bill Self talks after his team's 81-58 loss to Baylor on March 9, 2013.

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The ghost of Peter (Arness) Graves popped into my head and told me Saturday night that my mission, should I decide to accept it, is to try to make Jayhawk Nation feel as if Saturday’s shellacking at the hands of a Baylor team that had lost five of its previous six games isn’t cause for concern heading into the Big 12 tournament, an entertaining bridge to the best event in all of sports.

OK. Here goes:

Had Kansas won Saturday, instead of losing 81-58 at Ferrell Center — where Baylor coach Scott Drew went onto the floor, took the microphone and told the students to storm the court after security personnel had lined them up neatly — and then won the Big 12 tournament, it would have had to finish the season with a 17-game winning streak to win the national championship.

Really now, does this or any other team in this season of parity that faces power-conference opposition nightly strike you as one capable of winning 17 games in a row? No? Not helping?

OK, consider then that every team gets really unlucky once in a while and runs into a player who for the first time in his life shoots as he never had before in a game. Six seasons ago, Marchello Vealy made seven of eight three-pointers to lead Oral Roberts to an early season upset of Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse. Vealy had made one of 13 threes the previous season.

Cory Jefferson, one of those long leapers who loves to power dunk that Baylor always seems to have, had attempted seven three-pointers in his career before Saturday and missed them all. He shot three in this rout and made them all on the way to matching his career high with 25 points. The odds of something like that happening to Kansas again this month are astronomical, so it’s good the Jayhawks got that bad-luck bite out of their systems.

None of that worked, did it? OK, how about trying the truth, which is where Kansas coach Bill Self will go with his players, with whom he clinched a share of his ninth consecutive Big 12 title Saturday because Kansas State lost at Oklahoma State.

The truth is for Kansas to have any shot of making it to Atlanta for the Final Four, it must play with a sharp edge, an in-your-face competitive spirit. That was nowhere to be found Saturday, except from the opposition.

It was clear which team was in single-elimination mode and which had clinched something earlier in the day.

Thrashing Kansas the way it did drove Baylor from a seat on the wrong side of the NCAA Tournament bubble to the right side. In recent seasons, Baylor has resembled NBA teams in more ways than having high-leaping long bodies all over the place. The Bears (18-13, 9-9) tend to play with an NBA regular-season jog during conference play and pump it up to another speed in the postseason and twice have advanced to the Elite Eight under Scott Drew.

When locked in and turned up, Kansas can look fast, quick, explosive and anchored by a beast of a shot-blocking defender.

When he’s tuned in, senior power forward Kevin Young disrupts opponents with hustle and explosiveness and spurs teammates to greater heights. When he’s at less than his best, such as Saturday, he looks too frail to play with the heavyweights, too unskilled to merit playing time.

Point guards Elijah Johnson and Naadir Tharpe had been playing so well until Saturday. One game does not a regression make, but it served as a reminder of just how ordinary Kansas can look without the point guards collapsing the defense.

KU’s seven-game winning streak ended. The streak started after a three-game losing streak that started with a home-court loss to Oklahoma State.

How tough will it be for the team to put this one behind it and start anew?

“I don’t know because I thought when we lost to Oklahoma State, I thought we’d react fine, and we didn’t react very well to that,” Self said. “I may take a little different approach this time. I’m not sure what yet. The bottom line is our second season is done. Everybody’s is done. Now the third season starts and everybody’s starting fresh. I can’t imagine we won’t be fresh and excited and confident moving forward.”

He also put it this way: “We got punched in the mouth today without question, but we’ll get up.”

If hearing a coach who has won nine consecutive Big 12 titles say that doesn’t make you feel better, I’m out of ideas.


flloyd 6 years, 3 months ago

We just didn't get the (missed) calls by the refs like when we played Iowa State.

hawk_of_ages 6 years, 3 months ago

We got more than our share of bad calls against us in Ames.

SaltLakeHawk 6 years, 3 months ago

Whoever wishes to "thumbs-down" Pitthawk's comment, thumbs-up mine.

hawk316 6 years, 3 months ago

I agreed with Fran Fraschilla who opined that it's just human nature to have a let down when you know that you've already clinched a share of the title. Keegan is exactly right. KU did not have its edge. Let's hope they get it back...and fast.

Steve Quatrocky 6 years, 3 months ago

Its not that as much as Baylor wanted it more, desperately, how many times did Franschilla say they really needed that win, well they really did, plus it was Senior Night when emotions frequently conjur up atypical career nights from what are normally role players.

jaybate 6 years, 3 months ago

Now all we need is to lose the first game in the B12 tourney and we will have had another funk and be ready to come out like gang busters in Mary

utahjayhawk 6 years, 3 months ago

Exactly, then it will truly be over for this year.

nostradavid 6 years, 3 months ago

It was great to see Perry pick up the slack when Kevin lost his grip. It's hard to stop a team when they're shooting lights out. There's no better time to take a whupping on the road then when the trophy is already in your pocket.

I'm leanin' your way, Keegs ...

back to the future!

back to the future! by nostradavid

Allen Shepard 6 years, 3 months ago

i want Iowa St. and Baylor for the crown!!!!!!!! THERE WILL BE BLOOOOOOOOOOOOOODDDDDD!

timcampbell 6 years, 3 months ago

I don't like sharing. It sucks we lost to Baylor. We need to win the big 12 tournament to shut everyone up for good.

Tony Bandle 6 years, 3 months ago

Gee...I kinda think winning nine consecutive conference crowns would pretty much accomplish the same thing!!!

texashawk10 6 years, 3 months ago

Except now we're going to have to hear the purple kitties brag about that year they "won" the football and basketball conference titles in the same season even though everyone should know they don't deserve this one because they got swept by KU in the regular season.

Ron Franklin 6 years, 3 months ago

Hawk. We brag about our 9 straight when we lost head to head vs ou and Texas. it's a bit hypocritical to bash another program for doing the same.

purplekitty 6 years, 3 months ago

We don't have a problem sharing a title. We earned it same as you. Yes, you beat us head to head and the second game we sucked big time. On the other hand, you had four losses and we had four losses. It's definitely a better season than many of us expected and it's probably a worse season for your fans than you expected. So goes the sports world...

CHEEZIT 6 years, 3 months ago

On the subject of winning the football and basketball title. Didn't KU do that in 07/08. Shared the north with Mizzu in football and won basketball???

Tim Orel 6 years, 3 months ago

Slight difference. Mizzou was in the Big12 Championship game to lose, thereby missing out on the Orange Bowl. So I'd still put KSU's season ever so slightly ahead, since they're in the post-season conference title game.

However, I certainly liked that KU won the national championship in 2008, which the kitties never have.

Still proud of the state of Kansas.

CHEEZIT 6 years, 3 months ago

Can I still make a shirt that says we won both but with an asterisk???

CHEEZIT 6 years, 3 months ago

Oh and we did share the basketball title with Texas. So the shirt could say " We are Kansas, We Share!!!

Kye Clark 6 years, 3 months ago

Blown - it's not hypocritical because we didn't lose twice to those teams those years. We lost on their home court once.Now that there's a true round robin where everyone plays each other twice, tie breakers should be established

Michael Bratisax 6 years, 3 months ago

I don't know Oak...who gets the automatic bid? You also don't share the Conference Tournament Championship.

bayareajhawk 6 years, 3 months ago

When Baylor loses it's Drew's fault, but when Baylor wins it's because the players did it in spite of Drew? It's too bad Baylor has such a terrible coach. They were always so good before he got there and now they have to settle for Elite 8s.

Doug Merrill 6 years, 3 months ago

Ideally we play and beat - in no particular order - Baylor, ISU and KSU in the Big 12 to hush up any doubters and to instill some confidence.

Jeff Coffman 6 years, 3 months ago

The way the bracket is configured we can only play one of the following teams...osu, ksu, or bu

Jack Jones 6 years, 3 months ago

OMG > Exactly when did you earn your "Good Coaching" cred? Oh, yeah > that's just an opinion > my bad.

jayhawkinATL 6 years, 3 months ago

Sorry...still don't think Baylor's resume is good enough to get in, even after thrashing us. 18-13, 9-9 in conference??? Will have to go deep in Big XII tourney, if not win it all.

Alec White 6 years, 3 months ago

Jeez, the message boards are full of naysayers today. You would think we lost to TCU again or something. Baylor has a ton of talent, and not even Scott Drew's "coaching" could hold them back all season. They were due for a monster game eventually...unfortunately, it was against us.

We aren't the most versatile or deep team but we have just as good a shot as any team at winning the whole thing. Is there one team you look at and feel like we can't beat them? I sure can't think of one.

Just last game everybody was commenting on how great our seniors are and how they have given their all each and every night...and now we want to crucify them for losing a game against an immensely talented, desepate team? C'mon guys, let's put away the pitchforks and just enjoy the last few weeks of the season.

741hawk 6 years, 3 months ago

It's still a mystery to me why HCBS wasted TRele's defense on Heslip. Rock Chalk.

jayhawkinATL 6 years, 3 months ago

I don't think TRel's D was wasted on Heslip necessarily. Had TRel not been on Heslip, I would have expected him to hit 6+ threes. Someone on Baylor was going to be hot...just turned out to be Pierre...AND Jefferson. LOL If anything, EJ's D on Pierre was atrocious at best...couldn't stay in front of him at all.

Kevin Jenkins 6 years, 3 months ago

I'm not sure to blame the coach, when the key senior players lacked the fire or will to win.

fiala 6 years, 3 months ago

I think the coach should take some of the blame. Yes, the players lacked the will to win, but it's up to the coach to get those players ready to perform at their best, or to step it up mid-game. Billy Self did none of those things.

Jack Jones 6 years, 3 months ago

"Billy" ? Now your being immature and petty. Get over it.

KEITHMILES05 6 years, 3 months ago

What I find very frustrating is all the seniors having their worst games. No fire, no leadership, no want to. Shocking 2 freshman lead the way.

DaNeille Dani Davis 6 years, 3 months ago

I just dont understand how the best defense (so the stats say) can let so many players have career games against us. It's embarassing how they play sometimes. No fire. No killer instint. No balls. We let these teams set the tone and destroy our confidence. I've never seen a team with such low confidence as this team.

Kevin Jenkins 6 years, 3 months ago

Yes, I agree with most of you. Defense! On the 1 positive note, FRESHMEN!!!!!!!!

Carolyn Hunzicker 6 years, 3 months ago

This team is good ...Not really good or gerat Just good They have 9 teams is the league to play,,,The have lost to four of them and squeaked by losing 2 more games to Iowa State Thats 11 Overtime at OSU could have been 12 games that were lost in the Big 12

By alot of luck and McLemore they made it....I honestly know how good they are..But we will soon see.

nuleafjhawk 6 years, 3 months ago

I was going to take the blame for this loss - my "lucky" socks were in the washer.

But if we need lucky socks to beat Baylor, we're in big trouble anyway.

mikehawk 6 years, 3 months ago

I'm still smarting, three months later, on the Keegs story "play starts for second place in the Big 12" right before the start of the season, a couple of days before we just about lost to Iowa State at home. OK...I'll admit, it made for good copy to feed to the homies. But those kind of stories unleash bad mojo and I'm superstitious. We probably should have lost the Iowa St. game. If we beat TCU in Ft. Worth, we win outright regardless of yesterday. This team, if it gets to the Elite 8, has a chance to go all the way. The deeper, we go, the tougher we are to beat. But, I can see us going out in the first, second or third round, without question. The window between this team being very hard to beat and going down is very small via a game like yesterday. A lot of things have got to go right, and we need that thing called "luck" going our way in at least one, and maybe two games. Right now, I don't see this team bringing the hard edge into the Big 12 tournament. One thing good about that is we drop to a #2 or #3 seed if we don't win the Big 12 tourney. We are not a #1 and I think it will help us to not be projected there based more on who we are, than on who we REALLY are. I hope we are put in the toughest bracket with the biggest names. No directional schools...PLEASE!

OK! Here we go! March! Better get my therapist on the phone and get some appointments set up.

Lance Cheney 6 years, 3 months ago

I agree with your first point. I have thought to myself all (conference) season long: the basketball gods must be pi$$ed at us for some reason. No other explanation can justify how EVERY SINGLE team we face plays out of their minds when they play us (except KSU, ironically). Yes, I get it, we have a big target on our backs, but for every team to play like a top 10 team against us is just baffling, and frustrating.

squawkhawk 6 years, 3 months ago

I'm just glad we didn't play KSU yesterday because I think they would have also easily beat us.

hawk_of_ages 6 years, 3 months ago

No disrespect to KSU, but they actually have considerably less talent than Baylor. The Bears finally woke up for this game.

Michael Bratisax 6 years, 3 months ago

Okay...I need to add this to my list of stupid comments. KSU beat Baylor twice this year but yeah...Baylor's better.

It's a game of match-ups (keeping up?), if they play again, KSU wins

hawk_of_ages 6 years, 3 months ago

I did NOT... NOT say Baylor was better. I said they were more talented. Stop willfully misinterpreting everything I say in order to score cheap points. How petty can you get?

Jack Jones 6 years, 3 months ago

Easy now ~ KU- K.St. and KU - Baylor aren't comps. ~ as proven by this seasons results + motivation and mindset are totally different. Keep the faith.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 3 months ago

Agreed. Baylor has been underachieving all season. They were predicted pre season to finish second behind KU, after all.

Baylor had their break out game, and KU wasn't prepared to respond.

Baylor had much to play for (an NCAA bid), and KU had very little to play for.

Alex Wishart 6 years, 3 months ago

This is what I call a "context game". On paper without context most of us would agree that KU had no business losing. Better coach, equal or better talent, better defense, senior leadership, ect.. But with context we all know this was an easily losable game. Baylor was playing for their tournament lives, we had already secured our regular season title, we were playing on the road against a decent team, guys might have been looking ahead to the next two tournaments, Baylor had nothing to lose by playing their hardest and everything to gain by playing their best game of the season, and the list goes on and on. Are these merely excuses or are they legit reasons things happened the way they did? Is the glass half full or half empty?

I look at the 2013 Jayhawks this way: our starting 5 is comprised of one lottery pick, another guy who might make it in the NBA, and 3 guys that have to play their best game possible every night to impact the game. If we're being completely honest with our roster it's not the most talented or anywhere close. The thing we have going for us is that this team knows it has to work hard to get where they are. With all that being said, why aren't we patting HCBS on the back for a job well done like in years past? He's taken a lottery pick, a guy who might make the league and three average guys this far. Sounds an awful lot like last year and last year we were excited to be where we were. I think it's ok to have high expectations but we need to be more consistent with them.

Alex Wishart 6 years, 3 months ago

Also, this is the kind of team that makes one miss a guy like DJax, Big Dub, Sherron or TRob. Those guys had something you can't teach or coach. They were playing for more than just the game. There was an undeniable and undefinable hunger to fight and win inside each of those guys.

Who will step up and be our next leader in this way? I don't know if this years team has a guy like that. I could see that building in Jamari the next couple of years but who knows.

hawk_of_ages 6 years, 3 months ago

Every one of those guys you named had bad losses. Let's not go nuts reacting to one bad performance.

Kevin Huffman 6 years, 3 months ago

So I'm a pretty big pessimist, but I have to say that I've seen that from Elijah.

LLH 6 years, 3 months ago

I had that uneasy feeling going into this game, and it came to fruition in the exact manner I feared, and that was flat play from KU and at least one if not two Baylor guys going ape shooting the ball. I figured it would be Heslip nailing 6 of 7 threes or something like that. I never imagined it would be Jefferson. Then again, it doesn't suprise me, as KU fans, we are used to seeing some dude have an out of body experience against us. I'm not complaining, just stating the obvious. There have been at least 4 games this year that come to mind regarding this. Early in the year it was a non con game and some lil dude dropped like 28, then the dude from Temple, Brown for OSU at Allen Fieldhouse, Mcgee at ISU, and then two guys in the same game yesterday. What I have learned is that most people we play are playing, play with absolute offensive freedom. Think about. Nearly EVERYBODY KU plays is considered an underdog and generally not "expected" to win. Baylor was desperate, Senior Day, poor play by, KU etc. etc. That is usually the recipe for a disaster. That being said, I will always look back on this conference season with fond memories. Sure OSU at home and TCU stunk, I can accept the at OU loss, but KU could have easily lost at home to ISU, and on the road to OSU and ISU. Maybe they lost two they "shouldn't have" in the eyes of pundits and fans, but maybe the won three others that they "should have" lost. All in all, it's been a fun ride thus far, and I'm betting that they hit KC with a little stank in their attitudes, a chip on their shoulders, and a team full of seniors hungry to leave the final stamp on their legacy. Rock Chalk!

LLH 6 years, 3 months ago

Sorry, should have read most people KU plays are playing with absolute offensive freedom. Followed by Think about it.

Jack Jones 6 years, 3 months ago

LLH ~ knew exactly what you were saying > and "AMEN".

Michael Luby 6 years, 3 months ago

Great post TK. That is absolutely what happened and personally I dont feel bad for sharing the title. We still our 9th straight. Noone in todays basketball world can claim that. Noone. Nor will they for quite some time. KU's Seniors need to suck this loss up and get back to business this week. 3rd season's starting. Time to Rock some Chalk boys.

wyattearp2 6 years, 3 months ago

I love ku fans, they are all hooraah when they win, but sore losers and wanting to blame everyone else for when they are on the receiving end of a down right butt whooping.

Get over it, ku final four won't happen this year either!


bayareajhawk 6 years, 3 months ago

It must be all the KU fans who have been whining for weeks that the Big XII conspires to "hand" the title to KU every year?

Actually no, that was the rest of the fans in the conference.

dhinkansas 6 years, 3 months ago

Wyatt Earp is a class guy...trash talking on a blog. Must have took his remaining three brain cells to compose such a witty message. Have fun in Nashville.

nuleafjhawk 6 years, 3 months ago

The ghost of James Arness (Peter's brother) popped into my head and said:

“As any policeman today will tell you, it's not the idea of getting the first shot off, it's hitting your target. Often the first guy that shoots misses.” Except if you're Baylor.

Ok, I added the Baylor part.

Why does it seem that EVERY game, some joker(s) has a career game against us?

And why, why, why, why, why do we get so lackadaisical against teams that we should pulverize and play so well against very good teams? Do we have a team psychiatrist?

I hope we go into the NCAA tournament as a 14 or 15 seed so we might actually have a chance of being "up" for the game and will take it seriously.

FearlessJayhawk 6 years, 3 months ago

I've already got my golf clubs out and warming up. It was a good season. I seriously don't think we have much to look forward to in the tournament. We'll hope for better things next year.

nuleafjhawk 6 years, 3 months ago

I would love to jump all over that statement and say how negative you are and that you are wearing purple, blah, blah, blah.

Except I feel the same way. I just hope we're burned out from the weekend and that we're wrong !

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