Sunday, February 11, 2018

Jayhawks have simple goal after tough loss at Baylor: ‘We just have to regroup’

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) tries to get around Baylor Bears guard Manu Lecomte (20) during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2018 at Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) tries to get around Baylor Bears guard Manu Lecomte (20) during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2018 at Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.


Asked for a “big picture” assessment of his Kansas basketball team following Saturday's disheartening, 80-64 loss at Baylor, KU coach Bill Self wasted no time getting to the point.

“I don't think we're playing very well,” Self said. “We were obviously better three weeks ago than we're playing right now. But every team goes through ebbs and flows.”

That was not the only time in the 30-minute long postgame meeting with the media in Waco, Texas, that those words were uttered.

“Every team has ebbs and flows,” said KU senior Svi Mykhailiuk, almost certainly echoing words he had heard from Self at some point this season. “You know, we just have to figure it out.”

Like repeating Self's words, saying that might be easier than doing it for these Jayhawks.

Losers of three of their last six games, the Jayhawks enter the final six games of the Big 12 schedule in second place in the conference standings, one game behind Texas Tech.

With a head-to-head matchup with the Red Raiders still on the schedule — Feb. 24 in Lubbock, Texas — the Jayhawks are far from out of it and the quest to capture Big 12 title No. 14 in a row is still in play. But getting to that night when they trot out all of those trophies onto the Allen Fieldhouse floor won't come easy and will require much better performances than the Jayhawks have delivered of late.

“We just have to regroup,” said senior Devonte' Graham, the only Jayhawk who played well against the Bears. “One game at a time. We've got to work on getting better, being tougher on the glass. Like I said, shots will fall. We're not worried about that. Everything with us is just defensively and being aggressive.”

Self has made it clear, both this season and throughout his time at Kansas, that mistakes born from great effort can and will be tolerated. It's those other mistakes, born between the ears, that are harder to stomach. And that was another popular topic after the Baylor loss.

“We cut the lead to two and we just had a mental breakdown after that,” sophomore guard Malik Newman said. “We were right there. We fought all the way back. We were in the game. We just had a mental breakdown at the wrong time.”

Added Graham: “We fought hard to come back and then kind of gave it away with some mental mistakes late.”

Tinkering with the starting lineup before each of the past two games — first plugging in Mitch Lightfoot for Lagerald Vick and, against Baylor, going with Marcus Garrett in favor of Newman — was Self's latest attempt to inject some energy into his roster and it resulted in KU's worst loss of the season (16 points) and lowest point total to date (64).

Where the Jayhawks go from here is anyone's guess, but Self made it clear he knows where they can't go.

“We just don't have enough margin for error to have three or four guys really into it and turned up and emotionally and physically ready and then maybe have one or two (who aren't) at their best,” he said. “We have to be pretty good as a unit each and every night and tonight we weren't. I thought Baylor was a lot better than us.”

Added Mykhailiuk: “We're definitely not playing good right now. We need to get better at everything. We let people score, we give up rebounds, Dok got in foul trouble in the first half, Mitch fouled out. We've got to figure out how to play smarter.”

He then paused and finished his assessment.

“We just have to guard,” he said. “It doesn't matter what we're doing offensively. We just have to guard.”

More news and notes from Kansas vs. TCU

By the Numbers: Baylor 80, Kansas 64.

By the Numbers: Baylor 80, Kansas 64.


Len Shaffer 3 years, 11 months ago

"Asked for a “big picture” assessment of his Kansas basketball team following Saturday's disheartening, 80-74 loss at Baylor ..."

Where did KU's extra 10 points come from?

Seriously, Svi put it best: as frustrating as the offensive issues are, it's all about defense and rebounding with this team, and they have to be a hell of a lot better at those things than they were yesterday.

John Brazelton 3 years, 11 months ago

If Self wasn't such a stubborn coach, he would try Sam C. for a little offense even though his defense sucks and let De Sousa play for at least 90 seconds each half for experience. Self obviously wants Sam to transfer somewhere else for his scholarship.

Justin Daniel 3 years, 11 months ago

Dwight Coleby is averaging 12 pts 8 reb 2 blks a game this year, while I doubt his numbers would be that high in the Big 12, I sure wish he was here and Silvio got to spend his 2nd semester in high school. KU could use his experience, not to mention his size.

David Howell 3 years, 11 months ago

And he could shoot FT's ! I am sure HCBS regretted favoring / coddling Bragg only to have him leave. Coleby got better with each game, but I do not blame him for leaving .............

Steve Johnson 3 years, 11 months ago

seasons will end up being a shoulda coulda woulda and Svi and graham will go out on a low. I feel bad for them. this season has shown Self's weakness as a coach. He is a great coach but in the short term he could have done better

Layne Pierce 3 years, 11 months ago

Fact of the matter is, if Self wasn't a great coach this bunch of incongrous parts would not even be in second place. This is a Frankenstein team up to know, nothing that really goes together, just 5 guys who do their own thing.

In Vick and Newman you have all the talent in the world, and they need to bring it every minute of every game left. There is no excuse for Vick and Newman not to average 5 rebounds a game.

Svi needs to drive, and keep shooting threes, get some steals, and some rebounds. 5 a game.

Doke fill up the space, and don't be afraid to play hard, just try to play smart, but when the games on the line, you go for it, If you foul out, so what.

Devonte, when the game is close, get to the line. Only open 3s and only in your sweet spots.

DeSouza, get with your man, block him out, and on offense,pass the ball, unless you're open, shoot a short hook or jump shot maybe, don't feel you have to cram a dunk.

And if everybody will give it all they have, we will get at least a share of 14.


Armen Kurdian 3 years, 11 months ago

Have to play with imperative, energy, speed, and determination. Take personal umbrage when you get blocked, dunked on, blown past, stolen from, and give it right back.

Chad Smith 3 years, 11 months ago

Since they lack size, they have to try that much harder on the glass and it has weakened their on ball defense as well. I don't know if it would work, but have they considered having de sousa and udoka on the floor at the same time. I know that maybe makes us slower and not quite as explosive on the offensive end, but it would help us on the defensive rebounding end and inside scoring defense as well. Two areas we seemingly get destroyed in every game the past month.

I guess maybe I like the idea of giving de sousa and lightfoot more minutes and sprinkling in Vick and Garrett off the bench with energy and defense. I know Vick wants to be "the man" but really he is better served in his role he had last year, coming off the bench. Getting steals, getting lobs and using his athleticism and length to spark the team. Garrett has bought into this idea more and that's why his minutes have gone up.

We really could use Preston right about now.....

Dave Miller 3 years, 11 months ago

Where's the post game video of the players and coaches?

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 11 months ago

I don't buy into the "blame it on Self" argument that I've seen posted lately. EVERY team has off years. The only mistake that Self maybe guilty of is having too many transfers sitting on the bench, limiting our thin rotation even more.

Our expectations for KU basketball are almost impossibly high. I still believe we hit 25 wins this season and not many coaches would have been able to take this team to a top 3 seed. Since Self has come to Kansas, we've had eight 30 win seasons including a 37 win season and only one team that had double-digit losses.

So if Self is the problem then that's not a bad problem to have.

Len Shaffer 3 years, 11 months ago

Well said, Marius. No doubt that we are incredibly spoiled.

David Howell 3 years, 11 months ago

Agreed with Marius .......... I am a pessimist extreme, but Self has come through year after year when most have doubted him or the team. This year he may be pulling out more hair then normal, but I do not believe he has given up on his team.

This year he has admitted to making mistakes. Wow he's human. His only faults may be (1) getting the Hawks deeper into the tourney most years and (2) getting the team psyched up to beat his alma mater (OSU). This year the Hawks end the regular season @ OSU !

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