Frank Mason says fatigue 'not an excuse'
Let’s not over-analyze this. Kansas lost to TCU in the first round of the Big 12 tournament because its most versatile performer was sitting out a one-game suspension.
Josh Jackson will be back in the lineup for the first round of the NCAA tournament and the Jayhawks will be back to normal.
As for whether it was better for Kansas to bow out right away or to win the Big 12 tourney, that probably doesn’t make much a difference. The Jayhawks won it in 2008 and went on to win the national title. They didn’t make it to the Big 12 championship game in 2012, losing to Baylor by nine points in the semifinal, and went on to play in the national-title game.
The assumption that because Frank Mason is averaging 36.2 minutes and Devonte’ Graham 35.3 this team needs rest is a little overblown.
Mason doesn’t in any way consider the loss a hidden blessing.
“No, not at all,” Mason said. “I think we all feel good. It doesn’t matter how many minutes we play. I think coach does a good job with limiting our time in practice during the week. I think everybody’s bodies feel good and fatigue is not an excuse.”
Mason knows the drill on how to stay fresh.
“I think we just need to take care of our bodies, stay hydrated, eat right, get your rest and I think those things help you have energy,” Mason said. “I think every player gets fatigued at some point in time, but during the game you just have to dig down and find extra energy and just make it happen.”
He and his teammates won’t have any trouble sharpening their minds and games in time for the NCAA tournament.
“Get back, watch film, don’t give up easy baskets or second-chance points and just play every possession like it’s game point,” Mason said, repeating the formula that has led to Kansas having a 28-4 record to this point.
Where did Kansas miss Jackson the most?
“Everywhere,” Mason said. “On the offensive end and defensive end. We just missed his presence. He steals extra possessions. He’s a great rebounder, great passer. He’s just a great player.”
This was not a difficult loss to understand, but that didn’t make it easy to stomach.
“Not at all,” Mason said. “No loss is easy to take.”
Not surprisingly, ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi still has Kansas as the No. 1 seed in the Midwest, a regional that will be played at Sprint Center.
So the loss to TCU didn’t do much to hurt or help Kansas.