Sunday, January 27, 2019

Success in true road games remains out of reach for Kansas basketball

Kansas' Devon Dotson (11) shoots while pressured by Kentucky's PJ Washington during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. Kentucky won 71-63. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

Kansas' Devon Dotson (11) shoots while pressured by Kentucky's PJ Washington during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. Kentucky won 71-63. (AP Photo/James Crisp)


Lexington, Ky. — The Kansas men’s basketball team has played nine games away from Allen Fieldhouse so far this season, and carries a 5-4 record in those games into its next road test, Tuesday at Texas.

Five of those were true road games, played in the home venue of KU’s opponent, and the Jayhawks went just 1-4 in those tests, losing by an average score of 73-66.

That includes Saturday night’s 8-point loss at Kentucky, inside Rupp Arena. But the Jayhawks’ latest road loss did not follow the recipe of the three before it.

In those games — at Arizona State, Iowa State and West Virginia — Kansas turned it over an average of 19 times per game and had more turnovers than assists (58-31 total) in all three losses.

On Saturday against the Wildcats, the Jayhawks turned it over eight times total, while dishing nine assists on 23 field goals. That included just three turnovers in the second half, but it was the timing of those turnovers, and not their mere existence, that proved costly. Two of the three came in the final five minutes and eliminated any real hope of a KU comeback.

Four of those eight turnovers were the result of Anthony Hagans' steals and two of them, at least indirectly, because of foul trouble for KU point guard Devon Dotson, who played 33 minutes and fouled out for the first time this season.

“The two times we took him out, we didn’t get the ball across half-court because Hagans stole it from somebody,” KU coach Bill Self said. “They kind of smelled blood a little bit, or he did, whenever we didn’t have our primary handler in the game.”

Even with those instances, Self said he generally was pleased with the way the Jayhawks kept their poise throughout the game, despite the big stage, bright lights and behemoth challenge.

“They’re good defensively,” Self said of Kentucky. “Hagans controlled the game, defensively, from that spot. They really didn’t pressure us and they really didn’t have to because we didn’t force them to stretch. From the field, we actually competed with them pretty good. We just didn’t get to the free-throw line and we fouled so much because they controlled the glass. And that was the difference in the game.”

So what is it with road games and this Kansas team? Junior forward Dedric Lawson, who did everything in his power to avoid the loss at Kentucky, has an idea. More importantly, Lawson believes the issue is correctable.

“Man, we just let them get away,” said Lawson while noting that Kentucky “played hard.” "You’ve got to give those guys credit. It’s nothing that we can’t fix down the road. It’s not too late to make adjustments and come out victorious in league play when we go on the road.”

Three of KU’s next five Big 12 battles are on the road — starting with 6 p.m. Tuesday at Texas — and the Jayhawks also close the regular season by going on the road twice in early March before finishing with Baylor at home on March 9.

The combined home record of those six teams, through the weekend, was 47-12, and four of them have lost in their home gym just once this season.

On paper, Texas (8-4 at home) and Oklahoma State (6-4) represent KU’s easiest remaining road games before the postseason, but the Jayhawks already have proven that no road game is easy. Even their lone road victory to date — a 73-68 win at Baylor on Jan. 12 — featured the visitors allowing a 23-point lead to dwindle all the way to 4 in the final six minutes.

Beyond that, the Jayhawks have lost to the Longhorns twice in Austin in the last decade, and have dropped four of the last five games against Oklahoma State on the Cowboys’ home floor.

“Tuesday’s game is huge,” Self said. “We’ve got to be ready to go play in Austin and then, over a span of 7 days, you’re playing three real teams (at Texas, vs. Texas Tech on Saturday and at Kansas State on Feb. 5). I don’t even know who we play after that, but they’re going to be real, too.”


Robert Brock 6 months, 3 weeks ago

When is Self going to install an offense? KU is easy to defend - no movement, back cuts, etc.

Mike Bennett 6 months, 3 weeks ago

You've got to be fricking kidding me??? 14 titles in a row makes it clear you have no idea what you are talking about.

Brian Wilson 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Well 14 titles in a row doesn't guarantee a 15th does it. And, so far it appears that Bill is having a hard time making adjustments for this group. As mentioned.....the sky is not falling, but 15 in a row is looking to be harder and at the end of this season Bill should probably be humble, step back a bit, and get some outside evaluation on his program and planning, and see if he can make improvements. The largest room in the world is the room for improvement!

Luke Kading 6 months, 3 weeks ago

It seems like this team struggles to run offense like Self would like. Too much thinking instead of playing free. I think he's trying to find a balance

Steve Zimmerman 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Well.. what can those kids do? Throw to Lawson, he'll get sandwitched. He's our hero - but he doesn't always score. Now he has to kick out. Who will take 3pt? Ok, shoot 3pt. Did we score? Sure, a few times. What if no 3pt? Ok, let's weave, then dribble drive. Did we score? Well, Garrett tried. He got blocked here and there. UK has physical presence & athleticism. That's it.. let's play it safe, pass it to whomever is willing to take shots. That's pretty much it about KU offense.

Brian Wilson 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I think with Silvio still sitting with no end in sight we need to just go and start McComack......put Lawson at PF and leave him there. Rotate with Lightfoot. Develop the bigs you have for March or until Silvio gets the go ahead. We need to buckle up and go with what we have, let them develop on the court to have chemistry in March. Otherwise we are playing small-ball with guards that shoot sporadically and can't defend.

Len Shaffer 6 months, 3 weeks ago

The problem with starting McCormack is that he would add virtually nothing to the offense.

He definitely made some big contributions against UK re defense, rebounding and hustling, and perhaps he should have played more against them. But I don't think he's a solution overall unless he has a vast improvement in his offensive game.

Brian Wilson 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I agree with what your saying about his offense, and maybe he's not the solution, but if we don't try we'll never know. Part of me thinks that he would develop quickly if given the minutes and the chance....also with Lawson's passing he could feed him the ball for easy buckets while everyone collapses on Dedric.

Len Shaffer 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Fair enough. It'll be interesting to see if he starts playing more, especially against the bigger and stronger teams.

Chandler Accipiter 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Do we have alternate road uniforms? It may be time to break them out and ditch the blues. I know there are bigger problems to address, but let's start with the easy fixes first.

Bryce Landon 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Crimson red uniforms would be nice, but the color jersey we wear has no bearing on winning or losing.

Steve Zimmerman 6 months, 3 weeks ago

“They’re good defensively,” ---- Sorry, coach. They're NOT that good defensively. We shot ourselves in the feet. Dotson threw a pass to a no-look Garrett, Grimes threw a routine weaving pass that's very very easy to predict (tired of repeating my complaint over and over on this topic), etc. etc.. But hey, our Assists# is 1 higher than TOs. That's impressive. And we managed to keep our TOs below 10. That's a progress. If only we hit more 3s... UK wasn't that good. We beat ourselves on this one..

Jay Scott 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Passing and turnovers are defensive

Kentucky shot 39%. That's a defensive stat. We had 4 steals. They had 4.

This year's flock of Chicken Littles are even bigger birdbrains.

Steve Zimmerman 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Self said of Kentucky.. go back and read again, Einstein. I'll call you this weekend, Jay.

Brad Avery 6 months, 3 weeks ago


• A lot of you have asked for an update of my report earlier this month that Kansas will ask the NCAA to reinstate Silvio De Sousa. From what I’m hearing, the school expects a decision from the NCAA sometime this week and possibly as early as today. The case is complicated for a variety of reasons, but after much back-and-forth, it appears there was significant progress made late last week. De Sousa, a 6-9 sophomore forward, has not played because the school has been holding him out in the wake of revelations regarding alleged extra benefits from the college basketball corruption trial in New York. It’s always hazardous to predict these things, but my educated guess is that De Sousa will be in uniform by the time the Jayhawks host Texas Tech on Saturday. And there’s a decent chance he will play at Texas on Tuesday. Either way, we should have a resolution very soon.

Ray Winger 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Would HCBS like to surprise Texas, by putting him in the game tomorrow?

Len Shaffer 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Thanks Brad. That would be amazing, as he is SO needed right now ...

Glen Miller 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I didn't think losing Doke would be as big a blow to us as it has been. He could bail us out a little bit when our offense was struggling. Lawson is battling his ass off, but he's the only big we have that has any offense right now and they are doubling him every trip. He's going to be plum worn out by March because we can't take him off the floor. What happened to us securing the top bigs in the country in recruiting? We used to get like 2 a year..... since Manning left it's been less and less. I feel like we go for the foreign players more now and then they have to sit out games or seasons because of their handlers. 4 guard lineups only work if you sign shooters. Can you imagine if Vick hadn't come back?? Yikes

Chad Smith 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Brad, thanks for the update. And while I would love for this to be true, until Silvio steps on that court during an actual game that counts, I'm not holding my breath.

De Sousa's availability would have proved crucial against a team like Kentucky. We had no answer for reid travis. De Sousa is a big muscular body like travis is. Could have gone toe-to-toe with him. Lawson got abused on the offensive glass by that guy UK 17-9 in Offensive Rebounds. And I can't blame Lawson, he can't do everything and rebound every shot by himself.

This all makes me wonder where the hell Mitch Lightfoot has gone. I really thought he would play a crucial role on our team this season. But it looks as if Self ( as he usually does) has found the 7-8 man rotation he likes going down the stretch.

I thought Lightfoot could be that energy/rebound/defense guy that we would need playing good frontcourts. Maybe that just isn't in the cards. Pretty disappointing. Unless KU can figure out something for the interior( getting De Sousa back would be helpful), I just don't see this team going super far in March. Not enough shooters and not enough frontcourt depth. Any team with two good post players can give us problems.

Armen Kurdian 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Not having Doke is what lost us this game. Travis killed us on the offensive glass, and they got a lot of second chance points due to his size. We didn't have enough plays like the one McCormack had to fight off three guys in keeping us the ball. I think we were even trying to double-team him but he was just too tall and out-muscling our guys under the basket.

Our biggest success against ISU was slicing and dicing and cutting to the rim to get the layup or draw the foul. Yes, Lawson's the man, but he can't single-handedly win the game for us. If we can't create that space in the paint it's not going to go well the rest of the year.

Brad Watson 6 months, 3 weeks ago

This team lacks the JEROD HAASE MENTALITY.....they aren't hungry.....who is the guy....?....I think McCormack plays hungry....give him more floor time...Mitch plays hungry most of the time....but the starters try to get by on talent alone....but on the road you need need the inner JEROD HAASE to emerge and play with that kind of energy and things will turn out well.

KD Krase 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Free Silvio!!! What has happened to the other schools that were incriminated? He has done enough time for the supposed payment to his guardian.

Dane Pratt 6 months, 3 weeks ago

We are a 1 point favorite against UT. I'm a bit surprised.

Tony Bandle 6 months, 3 weeks ago

My take on Silvio:

1] The NCAA declared Silvio eligible last season and screwed up, feel that KU got an undeserved break and has made KU pay by sitting Silvio.

2] Even though he might be declared ineligible, KU's cooperation by not playing him this season will negate the NCAA's need to forfeit any KU games from last year including the Final Four.

3] I will be greatly [and pleasantly] surprised if Brad is correct and Silvio sees the floor any time this season.

4] The bigger question is, if Silvio doesn't play this season, can he take it as a red shirt year and still have three years of eligibility remaining????

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