The Kansas basketball team is navigating March Madness while also dealing with some roster variations due to recent positive COVID-19 tests.
Senior Mitch Lightfoot said the Jayhawks are trying to handle that by focusing on a particular area.
“Knowing what wins,” Lightfoot said. “Defensively we’ve got to lock in and follow our scouting report, really play to our defensive principles.”
KU will face USC in Indianapolis on Monday night.
After spending several days in isolation due to a positive COVID-19 test, Kansas forward David McCormack returned to the Jayhawks just in time to help them advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
“Being back, it felt great,” McCormack said on Sunday, ahead of the Jayhawks’ second-round matchup with USC in Indianapolis.
A day after one of his team’s key players made a successful return from a COVID-19 isolation, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self on Sunday discussed his expectations for another Jayhawk about to rejoin the team, Jalen Wilson.
Self also got into KU’s Monday night matchup with USC, which will determine whether the Jayhawks advance to the Sweet 16 or see their season end.
A day ahead of his Kansas basketball team’s regular season finale, head coach Bill Self addressed a number of topics during his press conference, including what he’s hoping to see out of the Jayhawks now that it’s March.
Self would like to see some offensive consistency from his team, as well as some confidence for his shooters, among other things, when the Jayhawks close their regular season Thursday night at home versus UTEP.
Kansas freshman guard Bryce Thompson wouldn’t quite describe himself as being back at 100% after breaking a finger in his right hand in January.
But ahead of KU’s regular season finale Thompson said he’s feeling “around 97” percent. Earlier in his recovery, Thompson said he had to adjust his shot motion because of the injury.
“But now it’s pretty smooth,” he added.
Thompson also discussed his Kobe Bryant fandom and how that has led to him at times resembling his basketball hero.
The Jayhawks wrapped up their Big 12 regular season schedule this past weekend by beating Baylor. But the other nine teams in the league still had some work left to do this week.
KU guard Ochai Agbaji said it has “definitely been weird” to see other teams in the Big 12 playing each other when the Jayhawks only have their nonconference game with UTEP left.
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self pointed to some not so smart decisions and major miscues that cost the Jayhawks in a 75-72 overtime loss at Texas.
But Self also said the Jayhawks played hard and that made him proud of their effort overall.
The emphasis coming out of the loss, Self added, should be that KU “got better.”
After Kansas lost at Texas in overtime, 75-72, guard Christian Braun said the Jayhawks didn’t play with the same energy in the second half as they did in the first.
Braun pointed to KU’s many mistakes in the second half and missed opportunities as key factors in the narrow defeat.
Following a 75-72 overtime road loss at Texas, Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji shared a little about the Jayhawks’ disappointment in how the game played out.
“It’s tough when you fall short like that,” said Agbaji, who scored 17 points.
He said the Jayhawks are turning their attention to Saturday’s game versus No. 2 Baylor.
After missing a month’s worth of action with a broken finger, Kansas freshman guard Bryce Thompson returned to the lineup in a 97-64 rout of Iowa State.
“It felt amazing,” Thompson said afterward. “Being away from the game for so long, to get back out there and just compete and to win and hear the crowd — all the little things you kind of take for granted.”
Thompson put up 8 points and 3 assists in 19 minutes off the bench.