Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Tom Keegan: Underdog Oklahoma State shows more bounce than No. 3 Kansas

Oklahoma State guard Jeff Newberry (22) pulls back for a two-handed jam before several Kansas players during the second half, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla.

Oklahoma State guard Jeff Newberry (22) pulls back for a two-handed jam before several Kansas players during the second half, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla.


— One team on the Gallagher-Iba Arena court Tuesday night looked like the type Bill Self always has loved to coach. More athletic than the opposition. Quick, bouncy, rugged getting rebounds in traffic and chasing down loose balls. Hitting clutch shots every time the lead dwindled.

That team was Oklahoma State, and the Cowboys took it to a Kansas University squad that looked, in a word, slow — physically and mentally slow.

In every way possible, No. 3 Kansas looked overrated in taking an 86-67 beating in Gallagher-Iba, where the volume was high and the attendance low.

The building wasn’t even close to full. Many no doubt stayed away figuring it wouldn’t be much of a contest. They couldn’t have been more right and more wrong about that. It was a mismatch, all right, but one those who stayed away would have enjoyed so thoroughly.

Oklahoma State had lost eight games, but nothing about the way they shredded KU’s step-slow man-to-man defense suggested this was a team that came into the night 1-4 in the Big 12.

Kansas defenders not only couldn't stop penetration but were slow to get to three-point shooters and the Cowboys made 11 of 21 shots from long range. Seven different players made threes. All 10 Cowboys scored and all 10 had at least one rebound.

“They looked so athletic going after the ball,” Self said of the Cowboys.

And Kansas, which looked so terrific in scoring a 109-106, triple-overtime victory against Oklahoma, looked just the opposite. KU hasn’t been nearly the same team since that game 16 nights ago.

“Tired? No,” sophomore guard Devonté Graham said. “I’m not going to make any excuses and say we were tired. We’re good athletes in good condition.”

Frank Mason III hasn’t played with the same zip, raising the question of how healthy he is at the moment.

“Yeah, he’s fine,” Self said of the player who routinely has multiple crash landings. “He may be sore, but hell, everybody gets sore, so I don’t think it’s anything major at all. ... We’re not getting much out of our guards at all. We’re not going anywhere unless Frank plays well. And Devonté and Wayne (Selden Jr.) have to be consistent.”

On paper, KU’s experience makes it well suited for the road and for avoiding one-sided upsets. Not the case in this one. Perry Ellis, Mason and Selden, with a combined 10 years of college basketball experience, combined to make 10 of 30 field goals and 3 of 12 threes, with two assists and six turnovers.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self: 'About everything' went wrong for KU in loss at Oklahoma State

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self discusses the Jayhawks' 86-67 loss at Oklahoma State.

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Oklahoma State’s Jawun Evans, college basketball’s newest superstar, without question was the best player on the floor. He controlled the game by getting his body and then the ball to go where he desired. Evans, who scored 42 points in a two-point loss at home to Oklahoma, dropped 22 points, eight assists and six rebounds on Kansas. He makes every team look slow by comparison.

After praising Evans, Self openly questioned his players’ toughness. When he goes there, he generally gets the intended result. Toughness can develop, but becoming more athletic lies more in tangibles than intangibles. A lack of quickness can be camouflaged in a variety of ways, such as by hitting three-pointers, but it can’t be significantly changed.

Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford, who has won the past three games in Stillwater between the schools, detailed how he thinks the Cowboys’ athleticism influenced the game.

“Athleticism is not just about jumping,” Ford said. “Athletic can be fast, quick. I thought we had a lot of deflections, which we keep track of. We took two charges that I know of that we moved from weak side to strong side.”

The Cowboys were quicker to loose balls. Often, such plays are characterized as purely effort plays, but the truth is with both teams trying hard, the quicker team takes possession of more of them.

Obviously, Kansas is a far better team than it showed Tuesday, but it’s also a flawed one. No easy solution exists to the much-discussed shortcomings at the center spot. And more often than in most years, Kansas will face teams with the sort of edge in athleticism that leads to doing a lot of the little things better. Little things become big things on night shots aren't falling.

— Sports editor Tom Keegan appears on The Drive, Sunday nights on WIBW-TV.

— See what people were saying about KU at Oklahoma State during’s live coverage

More news and notes from Kansas at Oklahoma State

By the Numbers: Oklahoma State 86, Kansas 67

By the Numbers: Oklahoma State 86, Kansas 67


Andrew Dunlap 5 years, 12 months ago

We have to go back to the drawing board on recruiting. Some of our players, especially in the frontcourt are not talented enough to play at KU. We also have players playing out of position. Perry Ellis is not a 4. He is a overachiever. Traylor has no position Mickelson is not adequate, nor is Lucas. Self is better off playing younger players and taking the hits than what we are doing now. There is no upside on the aforementioned group ( Perry is ok)

Joe Ross 5 years, 12 months ago

@kusports, please enable a feature that allows us to ignore certain users.

Michael Lorraine 5 years, 12 months ago

I like the thumbs up but would also like a thumbs down feature.

RJ King 5 years, 12 months ago

Agree Joe. But even if we could hide several fans from our feed, unfortunately the days of having 30-40 other interesting posts to read are gone.

Michael Lorraine 5 years, 12 months ago

By all means, fire Bill Self. Then we can witness firsthand the rapid decline of Kansas basketball as we know it. No decent coach and certainly none of the ones you and others have mentioned would touch this program. Who in their right mind would come to Lawrence after firing a coach who in 12 seasons has 11 conference titles, has not missed a tournament appearance, won 30 or more games six times, 25 or more 10 times, made the sweet 16 seven times, elite 8 five times, final four twice and a national title.

I don’t think Coach Self is above criticism but to fire him would be a mind boggling act of incomprehensible stupidity and would make is the laughing stock of college sports.

Steve Zimmerman 5 years, 12 months ago

Yes, but not now. Who would you hire, though? Can he accomplish what coach Self has done in the past 10 years here?

Michael Lorraine 5 years, 12 months ago

We could get the David Beaty of college basketball (sorry coach).

Philip Bowman 5 years, 12 months ago

Defense was pathetic. Over and over Sve left his man to guard another who was already guarded leaving his man to shoot uncontested threes. This has been a pattern of Self coached teams for as long as I can remember. Finally, I saw Ellis dunk a ball instead of throwing up a prayer to be blocked. Can he jump? Passing was loopy, lazy saying "here, intercept me." I have to say all this comes back to the coaching staff. It looked like the players had no respect for OSU which owns us in Stillwater.

I couldn't hear what the crowd was chanting; probably "over-rated." A stupid thing to do but typical of dumb fans. But, sad to say, it is true in this case. Our rating is based on perceptions of untested one-and-done recruits. Bragg & Diallo have a lot of talent but not enough when so few on the squad can play this kind of competition.

Janet Olin 5 years, 12 months ago

Something unhealthy is going on with the team's energy/compatibility, starting with Frank. I understand coaches deliberately downplay player injuries, but even Stevie Wonder could see that Frank is quite obviously not 'fine', as Coach alleges. Remember last year how fans bashed Selden for his lack of hops, only to learn he needed knee surgery the whole year and nobody knew. This is not the same team we saw after the WUG. I can see/accept one perfect storm of bad performance/luck, but the team hasn't been right for 4 games now. If they really are exhausted in mid-season, maybe a month of summer workouts and games isn't such a good idea in the future. What worries is not the loss, but the manner in which they lost.

David Pointer 5 years, 12 months ago

Usually this time of year (after Christmas break and before school starts) is when good teams improve and get healthy without the rigors of balancing school and basketball. This team seemingly has gotten worse. I was at the TCU game last weekend and the fieldhouse was not full and it was obvious. The excitement of the beginning of the game quickly wore off and a mass exodus (presumably to watch the Chiefs game) began with eight minutes to go in the game that was distracting. I am not sure if a lackadaisical attitude by some of the fanbase has rubbed off on the team, but there is not a lot of emotion in the stands or on the court and that is concerning to me. I don't think we can lose more than two more road games (OU & ISU?) and no more road games to have a shot at the title, four losses may be too many given how OU and WVU look right now.

Brett McCabe 5 years, 12 months ago

We could be looking at a mid-level finish if things don't turn around quickly. Texas is a threat in AFH and I don't see a remaining road game that would remotely be considered a lock.

This team showed earlier in the season that it could play with anyone. Right now, it's showing that it could lose to just about anyone. Leaders don't appear out of thin air and, if Perry, Frank and Wayne can't lead this team at this point in their careers, then it isn't going to happen.

Our best hope may be to enjoy a surge from our two freshmen. Both have energy and both can do some things that could move the needle for the team. If they do, maybe our upperclassmen will follow suit.

Michael Lorraine 5 years, 12 months ago

Looks pretty wide open to me. Texas just beat WVU at Morgantown and K-state took Baylor to double OT on the road.

Andy Hess 5 years, 12 months ago

We've got weak on court senior leadership, and it spreads from there. No quality depth in the bigs, and we've got two starting guards who couldn't get a major offer until KU got desperate because they missed on a bunch of combo guards they recruited. I love this team, and I always will. These guys just don't have it, and it starts with too many recruiting failures.

RJ King 5 years, 12 months ago

I'm not sure I'd want to be living in that new dorm just now. I wonder if any of that is creating a sense of entitlement among this group? Getting a little too comfortable??? Or maybe too much closeness off the court???

Honestly, as Janet mentioned, I think several players might be a little more banged up than anyone is letting on.

Janet Olin 5 years, 12 months ago

I recognize that Frank got kneed in the privates and really beat up on Tues., which could go a long way toward explaining an off night. But he wasn't mentally in the game the last 2 or 3 games either, so there must be something else they're covering up.

Jay Beakum 5 years, 12 months ago

Well it's not nothing. Something is affecting these guys.

All we can do is let it play out. They may be different than most of Self's squads in that their emotions rule.

So, perhaps...

They may be down now, but this could be good for a stretch in March when they are up, and swag is necessary.

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