Sunday, February 17, 2019

Extra prep time and lots of rest up next for Kansas basketball

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) gets in for a bucket past West Virginia guard Jermaine Haley (10) and West Virginia forward Lamont West (15) during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) gets in for a bucket past West Virginia guard Jermaine Haley (10) and West Virginia forward Lamont West (15) during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Riding a three-game winning streak and finally feeling good about the direction of the team and their play on the floor, the Jayhawks head into an off week with two monster games on the horizon.

The outcomes of this Saturday’s game at Texas Tech and next Monday’s clash with Kansas State at Allen Fieldhouse will go a long way toward determining whether the Jayhawks extend their NCAA-record streak of consecutive Big 12 titles from 14 to 15.

And the work the Jayhawks put in during the days leading up to those pivotal games no doubt will determine how well Kansas fares in those Big 12 battles.

“The next two games are vitally important to win the league,” KU coach Bill Self said Saturday, after KU’s 78-53 win over West Virginia at Allen Fieldhouse. “I don’t know if Iowa State did us a favor (by beating K-State on Saturday) or not because they have the best schedule to finish up. They’re in a great spot. It will come down to the last game of the year. For us to be a part of it, we need to be really good (during) that 48-hour stretch next Saturday and, of course, on Monday.”

With the Red Raiders next on KU’s schedule, logic would suggest that, with seven days between games, KU has all the time it needs to prepare for Chris Beard’s squad, which currently sits at 21-5 overall and is tied with KU at 9-4 in Big 12 play, a half game behind first-place Kansas State.

Both KU and TTU are off until Saturday, with K-State playing at West Virginia on Monday night.

And while it’s true that the Jayhawks feel like they have plenty of valuable time to scout and game plan for their next game, Self said Saturday that the Jayhawks would not spend the entire week prepping for Tech.

“I wish we had an extra day to prepare for K-State,” Self said, referencing the quick turnaround between the game in Lubbock, Texas, this weekend and next Monday’s showdown with KSU. “So we can prepare for K-State (this) Monday and then we’ll have the rest of the week for Tech. That’s the kind of stuff, when you have a week off, that I think can be a benefit to you.”

Self also pointed out that the week off followed by two games 48 hours apart could be good preparation for what's to come long after the Big 12 trophy is handed out.

"It’s like the NCAA Tournament," he said. "You prepare some on the first day and the second day you prepare for the team you think you will be playing. Great preparation week. We have to go compete. Texas Tech is on a big-time roll right now.”

The other major benefit of not playing a mid-week game this late in the season can be summed up in a single word: rest.

“I think it’s a good time (for the week off),” Self said. “Because I think Dedric (Lawson is) tired. Getting him some days (off) would be good this week.”

Beyond that, the Jayhawks can use the week to give injured sophomore Marcus Garrett more time to heal his ankle and allow the rest of the members of the roster to lighten up on what they have been putting their bodies through, as well.

“I think it’s good,” said junior forward Mitch Lightfoot, who has become a bit of an enforcer on this team in recent games. “There’s a lot of opportunity for us to get healed up, but, at the same time, we’ve got to get ready for Texas Tech. Marcus is working hard to get back, and a couple of other guys are nicked up in the heart of the season. In Big 12 play, you’ve got a lot of good players out there going as hard as they can.”

While pulling back on the physical demands this team has endured week after week during the Big 12 grind will be the plan this week, Lightfoot added that he was not at all worried that tapping the brakes would have a negative effect on the roll the Jayhawks currently are enjoying.

“I think we’re pretty wired,” he said. “There’s a lot of energy that goes on in practice, and we all understand what it takes and we’re fighting. This team’s built on that ability to fight. We see our goal and we’re doing whatever it takes to get there.”


Brad Watson 3 months ago

It will be good for the team to get a little rest....then really get focused...TT has this game circled...they will bring a huge effort...we need to match it...that will be the objective......Its funny how the race is evolving...without Wade....K-State isn't a confident team...WV has a good chance of beating them Monday night....Huggs...probably had a serious talk with them on the plane ride home...look for a big effort from them....if .K-State loses again...hey...they may lose all their games...Weber will have his hands full holding his teams' confidence together...especially if they lose to could spiral out of control for them...but TT and I-State are well coached and so is lots of other win out...its done...but one game at a time....with all out effort and smart basketball....Kansas Basketball!

Marius Rowlanski 3 months ago

I've noticed that you aren't ever a fair weather fan. Win or lose and you find positive

Kind of rare.

Brad Watson 3 months ago


Joe Ross 3 months ago

I like Self's idea of practicing for KSU on Monday.

Tell you what I'd do: Practice Monday for KSU. Watch the game between KSU and WV on Monday night as a team. Practice for KSU on Tuesday (light practice).

Then Wednesday watch film on TT and REST.

Thursday go hard to keep up the conditioning, gearing up for Tech. Friday have a light run-through in advance of the game.

Bryce Landon 3 months ago

Please, God, no more injuries in practice the rest of the season, especially this week...

Dane Pratt 3 months ago

And while you're at it God can we please have Marcus back?

Marius Rowlanski 3 months ago

I cannot give you the same compliment I gave Brad but I can't award myself either.

Chad Smith 3 months ago

This is what we call the "stretch run" and what has separated KU from every other Big 12 conference team over the past decade. Two huge games back to back against quality competition. This is where legacies are made. This is where coaching and consistency shine the brightest. I have faith in Coach Self and these freshmen to get it done. Time to lock in and also have some fun out there. For all the ups and downs, it's still an exciting and fun game to play. Hopefully the team embraces the challenge and the pressure and the excitement and goes out there and has a great time playing basketball.

Enjoy the moment guys, this is one of the main reasons why you came to Kansas. To win championships. ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK! GO KU!

Barry Weiss 3 months ago

Saturday is going to be an absolute war. It will be as close as you can get to playing a tough team in the dance.

Marius Rowlanski 3 months ago

Kansas plays four of their final games on the road with the only home game being against Kansas State. Kansas State is a must win for Kansas and winning 3 out of 4 final games on the road should give us a tie.

Kansas cannot afford extended scoring droughts, no more time for playing one good half and one bad half, turnovers... Etc. etc.

Jay Scott 3 months ago

3 of 5 on the road. Purple kittens at home. Baylor at home.

Brian Wilson 3 months ago

I am looking forward to this will be an excellent indicator on the direction HCBS is going and how we handle March. I am hoping and looking forward to seeing more of KJ alongside Dedric and D-Mac with just two guards instead of four......Agbaji and Dotson. I am also hoping Self decides to being Garrett, Grimes and Moore off the bench. Garrett can be a valuable stopper, Grimes and Moore can provide relief with distribution and ballhandling. IMO none of those three have met expectations yet this season and it's time they serve in a supporting role.

Steve Zimmerman 3 months ago

I'd say, I know it's too late now, but preparing for next season, adopt series of training (strength & conditioning) from Mr. Ott:

Let's see how our team will be transformed.

Jay Scott 3 months ago

Are you saying Andrea Hudy doesn't know what she's doing? Really? Seriously?

Steve Zimmerman 3 months ago

Err... military expert vs sports coach, should we even compare? it's like orange vs orang utan...

Shannon Gustafson 3 months ago

No, we shouldn't even compare. A premier sports trainer knows way more about training sports athletes than the military.

Steve Zimmerman 3 months ago

Shannon, you're the winner!!! finally..

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