Bill Self, who has coached Kansas University’s basketball team to 10 consecutive Big 12 titles, most certainly keeps track of what’s happening day to day in the league.
What he doesn’t do is root for — or against — certain teams with eight games yet to be played.
“It’s so early. My thinking is, a lot of times when you wish for something to happen early in conference play, it turns out to be totally irrelevant late, and it may end up biting you,” Self said. “So we just watch, not get too hung up or emotional in what’s going on and then just focus in on what we need to do.”
KU’s 67-62 loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday dropped the Jayhawks to 19-4 overall and 8-2 in Big 12 play. The Jayhawks hold a one-game lead over Iowa State (7-3) and game-and-a-half margin on Oklahoma (7-4). Baylor and West Virginia own 6-4 marks, while OSU is 6-5, Kansas State 5-6, Texas 4-6, Texas Tech 2-9 and TCU 1-9.
Iowa State pounded KU’s next opponent, Texas Tech, 75-38, on Saturday in Ames. Coincidentally, on Jan. 24, Tech beat Iowa State in Lubbock, 78-73. KU will meet Tech at 8 p.m. Tuesday in United Spirit Arena in Lubbock.
Shooting discrepancy: KU hit 56.5 percent of its shots in building a 41-30 halftime lead against Oklahoma State. The Jayhawks made eight of 30 shots the second half for 26.7 percent in getting outscored, 37-21.
“I think I missed a couple easy baskets in the lane, a couple floaters. My teammates also missed a couple easy baskets around the rim,” KU sophomore point guard Frank Mason III said.
“The same shots we were making the first half weren’t falling in the second. The ball didn’t go in. That’s it. Guys didn’t make shots they normally make.”
KU hit seven of nine threes the first half and three of 11 the second.
“I don’t know,” sophomore Brannen Greene said, asked to explain the difference. “That was the flow of the game. That’s just how it went. Obviously there were things we could have done better to pull out the win.”
Effort not good enough: Assessing the contest, Self said: “We didn’t play hard. We didn’t play smart. That’s a tough combination on the road playing against a team that played with more hunger than we did.
“Look at Jamari (Traylor), six turnovers against no pressure. It was a collective team effort. Wayne made shots (Selden, 4-for-5 from three). Frank made some shots (3-of-5 from three). Other than that, we played really poorly. Wayne didn’t do anything else other than make shots. Frank didn’t do anything else other than make shots. We didn’t get much from our bigs. We didn’t do the job on the sidelines coaching ’em. It was disappointing.”
Get back: Self is hoping for better on Tuesday.
“Getting back to being who we are,” he said. “That happens a lot with teams throughout the season, get a little full of themselves, take the foot off the gas or lose their edge a bit. We’ve got to get our edge back. The last two road games, we’ve not played well at all (loss at OSU, win at TCU). Everybody talks winning and losing. We’re all judged by that. More important to me is if we just play better. If you play right, wins and losses take care of themselves.”