Sunday, February 4, 2018

Jayhawks still searching for home-court advantage

The Jayhawks head back to the bench during a timeout in the second half, Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

The Jayhawks head back to the bench during a timeout in the second half, Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.


The goal coming into Saturday's 84-79 home loss to Oklahoma State was for the Kansas men's basketball team to find a way to bring back to Allen Fieldhouse the same kind of energy, effort and focus that had staked them to a 4-1 start on the road during Big 12 play.

It didn't happen.

Instead of playing to the home crowd and using 3-point shots, big time blocks and highlight-reel slam dunks to incite an Allen Fieldhouse riot, the Jayhawks fell behind early, dug a hole the size of the Grand Canyon and used a rope ladder to try to climb out.

It almost happened, of course. Because that's just what this team does. But this time, instead of flipping the switch in time to save the day, the Jayhawks watched Oklahoma State make all the plays late and marched back to the locker room stewing over their third Allen Fieldhouse loss of the 2017-18 season.

It marked the first time since KU dropped three games in their home venue during the 1998-99 season that Kansas had lost three at Allen Fieldhouse. The 1993-94 team also lost three games in Allen Fieldhouse.

To put that number in even greater perspective, the Jayhawks lost just four times total at Allen Fieldhouse during a stretch of 10 seasons from 2007-08 through 2016-17.

“It's very frustrating, you know,” said Graham, who lost for the fourth time at Allen Fieldhouse, three this season and just once during his first three seasons combined. “You're supposed to win your home games and it's supposed to be really tough on the road. We've have it flip-flopped this year. We just need to find a way to come out and crush teams like they put their foot on our throat (Saturday).”

While Kansas entered the game with the clear talent advantage, the Cowboys' winning recipe featured a handful of interesting facts.

• The 13-point halftime deficit, which seemed manageable given OSU's 18-point lead with 3:23 to play in the half, was KU's largest of the season and the biggest since West Virginia led by 14 in March of 2015.

• Oklahoma State's 51.6 percent shooting marked just the 27th time in 527 games during the Bill Self era that a Kansas opponent topped 50 percent for the game.

• In scoring 84 points, OSU became the fifth team to top 80 against the Jayhawks this season, something only three of Self's 15 KU teams have allowed.

Those weren't the only ingredients in OSU's upset. Far from it. But each played a big part in KU's latest loss and Self was far from surprised by any of it.

“We didn't do very many good things at all,” Self said. “We got what we deserved.”

Be that as it may, both Graham and Self were visibly bothered by the way Saturday's loss happened more than the end result.

“That was a tough one and one that we will certainly study and look back (at),” Self said. “It's one thing to get beat, but to get beat when the other team is obviously better (is tough).”

The key now will be for Kansas (18-5 overall, 7-3 Big 12) to find a way to prevent this year's team from becoming the first team since Roy Williams' first team in 1988-89 to lose four games at Allen Fieldhouse in the same season.

Easier said than done, according to Self, whose team will face another tough test on Tuesday night when TCU comes to town.

“TCU can beat us,” Self said. “Anybody in this league can beat us. I've said that all along. This league is a monster when we talk about competitive teams. … We've got to figure out a way to get (the winning mentality) back and certainly I think it starts between the ears. We need to be more prepared to play. That's on me for not getting them ready. It's also on me for allowing us to be so soft. We've got to improve on that.”


Bryce Landon 1 year, 3 months ago

"That's on me for not getting them ready. It's also on me for allowing us to be so soft."

Well, at least you're man enough to admit it, Bill. So often I've complained that you never admit to screwing up, but you've admitted to bad coaching twice in one season - in blowing the Oklahoma game and in not having the team ready to play against Oklahoma State. There is hope for you yet!

Tom Jones 1 year, 3 months ago

Wish we could say the same for Bryce...

John Brazelton 1 year, 3 months ago

OSU face guarded Graham the entire game disrupting his ability to run KU's offense. When Graham isn't able to move freely in the front court, KU's offensive movement dies and players end up taking rushed shots and the rest of the players stand around to see if the shot is going in or not. Graham is also tired from playing too many minutes and his shooting accuracy has gone down dramatically in the last number of games. Self needs to make another change that he doesn't normally do and play more of his roster. Vick's game is sub-par and Self won't lose much by subbing him out with an equally bad player.

Steve Zimmerman 1 year, 3 months ago

until Vick realizes that this team needs him to score, we won't go deep. Either the team needs to create plays for him, or he'll have to MAN UP and LEARN to dribble drive with all his might, elevate, fly like a Hawk, and stuff the basket. This man needs confidence coaching and spanking until he really gets it. And hopefully it's not too late. He has eyes like a hungry Hawk, but his wings seemed to be clipped. Pick up a ball, every day make it a habit, dribble LOW, between legs, cross-over, behind the back cross forward, and one day you'll see the difference. he needs coaching to ATTACK the basket, not to give up and back down everytime faced by a defender. FAKE passes, FAKE shooting, then stuff the rim! Watch more Wiggins' moves, buddy!!!

Tom Kippenberger 1 year, 3 months ago

In the event of a victory Tuesday (50/50), maybe the embarrassment of the student body "rushing the court" might wake these guys up.

Tony Bandle 1 year, 3 months ago

I know of only one way to improve offensive rebounding with this bunch.....ZONE IT. And I mean Zone It 100% of the time. You stop penetration, you double up on the perimeter and you are, if played correctly, already in position to screen off and rebound.

This team is so far off of being a "Bill Self type" squad, you may need a radical strategic move to compensate. Why not try it. It can't be any worse than it already is!!!!

Tony Bandle 1 year, 3 months ago

PS Also, you save fouls, keep fresher and allow your best players to stay on the court longer.

Kyle Rohde 1 year, 3 months ago

Saturday was the worst KU crowd I can remember in a long time. No, the team didn't play well but those are the days when the crowd is supposed to pick them up and help win the game. Instead, the apathetic, spoiled KU crowd just expected the team to come back and win while they sat on their hands. I sit in one of the corners (section 13a) and most of our corner was sitting for the entire last 5 minutes. Lots of people started exiting when there was a TO with KU down 5 with 42 seconds left! I've never yelled at other fans in my own section before but I did Saturday. The students were also pretty dead. They stood but got quiet very quickly and had no chants, energy, etc.

Sometimes, I almost wish KU would crater and go 14-16 or something so people remember and appreciate how spoiled we've been.

Brad Watson 1 year, 3 months ago

Its all about effort.....How badly do you want to be the best.....Leaving it all on the floor.....too exhausted to shake hands after the game.....its inside all of us.....its a learned its up to Coach to teach....and it helps if there are a couple of guys that are role models....again Jerod Haase.....WATCH SOME OF HIS GAMES AND HIGHLIGHTS........these kids need to channel their inner Jerod Haase and things will turn out well...but if they just show up.....Okla. State beats you in the Phog.......REALLY?

Derick King 1 year, 3 months ago

Vick hasn't been the same since he missed all the easy baskets against the zone from Washington. He lost all confidence after syracuse and Washington

Ian Ballinger 1 year, 3 months ago

Allen Fieldhouse has been electric and incredibly loud this season, so it's not the fans. Wish these players would feed off the energy we're throwing their way.

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