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The Day After: Getting trounced by Temple

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Kansas coach Bill Self and members of the team watch in the closing minutes of a 77-52 loss to the Temple Owls Monday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.

Kansas coach Bill Self and members of the team watch in the closing minutes of a 77-52 loss to the Temple Owls Monday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.

You all saw it, so there's no real reason to rehash the gory details of Monday nights' 77-52 KU basketball loss to Temple.

The Jayhawks were as bad in this one as they were in the loss to Kentucky in the second game of the season, and, in some areas, may even have been worse.

Clearly, very few people saw a loss like this coming, given the way the Jayhawks have played lately and shown steady growth over the course of the season. The bottom line, though, is this team is still relying on a lot of young players and many of those guys are still learning how to play at this level, how to play for Bill Self and how to fit into leadership roles.

Many believed that Wayne Selden was poised to step right into that role as the unquestioned team leader, but, even if he has shown areas of improvement in that department, he's still a work in progress there. So is Perry Ellis, who has shown flashes of brilliance and moments of complete struggle, the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows, all in the first 11 games.

Where Ellis and Selden go from here will be important, but clearly this team is in need of improvements in a bunch of areas and from a bunch of guys before Big 12 play gets started, which is now just two weeks away.

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre, Jr. is surrounded by Temple defenders during the Jayhawk's game against the Owls Monday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre, Jr. is surrounded by Temple defenders during the Jayhawk's game against the Owls Monday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.

Quick takeaway

It'll be interesting to see how the Jayhawks respond to this loss, and I'm not just talking about how they play against Kent State next Tuesday. KU was exposed in some pretty important areas in the loss to Temple and there are teams in the Big 12 that have the right mix of personnel, swagger and talent to try to replicate what the Owls did to Kansas in this one. The easy thing to say is that KU will learn from this loss, work hard over the break and keep getting better. And I'm sure all of that is true. But KU's going to have to find a way to tweak what it does on both ends of the floor to prevent nights like this from happening again. We're not talking wholesale changes or anything drastic, but they have to find easier ways to score and also need to identify the right lineup that's willing to compete defensively every possession. The guys that will do that are the guys that will get the most minutes in the coming weeks.

Three reasons to smile

1 – Plenty has been said about Frank Mason's night and the guy deserves all the credit in the world for showing up to play on a night when most of his teammates didn't. Mason scored 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting — including 4-of-6 from three-point range — and added three steals and two assists. The most impressive number of them all, however, might have been the minutes played. Mason was on the floor for every second of the game, which only further proves (a) how valuable he is to this team and (b) how obvious it was that he was one of the few guys who was ready to battle.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III, drives against Temple defenders in the Jayhawk's loss to the Temple Owls Monday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III, drives against Temple defenders in the Jayhawk's loss to the Temple Owls Monday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.

2 – His numbers did not reflect it, but I thought Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk turned in a second straight game where he looked much more like the Svi we saw early in the season than the Svi we saw during a recent slump. He was aggressive and willing to compete, even if his shots weren't falling either.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) tries to power his way to the goal past Temple defenders against the Owls Monday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) tries to power his way to the goal past Temple defenders against the Owls Monday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.

3 – You hate to use the old “wake-up call” line for one of the reasons to smile, but there weren't many others in this one so we'll go with it. So much has been made about KU's ability to find ways to win so far this season even on nights when it didn't play its best. That's a good trait for a team to have, but it's not a given. I think there's a chance that some of these guys — especially the younger dudes — started buying into the idea that all they had to do was show up and they'd find a way to pull out a win. That kind of belief and confidence is a good thing, so long as the team executes the first part, which is to show up. KU did not do that against Temple, and that'll be the lesson it can take away from an awful nigh heading into January.

Three reasons to sigh

1 – OK, so there were more like 30, but if we're going to narrow it down to just three, we'll begin with KU's terrible start. That first 10 minutes (and maybe even the first 3-5) really set the tone for the entire night. The Jayhawks looked disinterested, lazy, sluggish and, simply put, like they didn't want to be there. Off nights are going to happen. But with a roster this deep, talented and versatile I didn't think we'd see a night where almost every player in crimson and blue failed to bring it. Monday was one of those nights and the Jayhawks got what they deserved because of it.

2 – While that start was a tone-setter, KU's defense was what cost them most and eliminated any chance KU had to stay in the game. That was particularly true in the first half, when Temple's guards drove to the rim at will and the Owls' crisp ball movement led to open shot after open shot. Long story short — Temple got whatever it wanted on offense and KU looked powerless to stop it.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) tries to slide by a screen chasing Temple guard Will Cummings (2) Monday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) tries to slide by a screen chasing Temple guard Will Cummings (2) Monday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.

3 – Cliff Alexander continues to be a work in progress and, in some ways, may even have taken a step or two backwards these past couple of weeks. Early in the season, Alexander was getting by on energy, effort and raw ability, but, today, he seems to be over-thinking things and looks flat-out lost at times, particularly on defense. One sequence Monday night showed that better than any other. With KU still hanging around early in the second half, Alexander fired a 16-foot jumper early in the shot clock. It's not a terrible shot, and it's one he can make, but there's no need to take it when he did. On the very next possession, Temple ran a high ball screen and Alexander left his man to go double team, which allowed the guy he was guarding to slip effortlessly to the rim, where he received an easy pass and finished a bunny to add to Temple's lead. Even after starting, Alexander only played 17 minutes, took just the one shot and scored 2 points. The big freshman needs winter break to arrive as much as anybody.

One for the road

KU's beatdown at the hands of Temple on Monday:

• Snapped an eight-game winning streak, which was KU’s longest since an 18-game winning streak during the 2012-13 season.

• Made Kansas 9-2 or better for the fifth time in the Bill Self era.

• Dropped KU’s record away from Allen Fieldhouse to 5-2 this season and 1-1 in true road games.

• Made Kansas 8-4 all-time versus Temple and 60-17 against current members of the American Athletic Conference.

• Moved Self to 334-71 while at Kansas, 541-176 overall and 4-1 all-time against Temple.

• Made KU 2,135-824 all-time.

Next up

After going their separate ways for Christmas, the Jayhawks will return to action at Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 30, when they'll take on Kent State at 7 p.m.

By the Numbers: Kansas blown out at Temple, 77-52

By the Numbers: Kansas blown out at Temple, 77-52

Comments

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 10 months ago

Alexander's inability to convert Mason's pass at the rim was a miserable effort in which he could only get his fingers above the rim in an effort to convert the play. Alexander's mind was not in the game. No wonder Self is on him about his practice effort because the games reflect practice.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 10 months ago

Matt it is nice to see a realistic assessment of the teams play last night. I would add this is the first time in the Self era that a KU team has lost by more than 25 twice in a season. In all the previous games combined it has only happened once to a Self team. Thanks Benz for the info.

This team keeps making history, in the worst way.

Asad Zoberi 6 years, 10 months ago

It was an embarrassing performance, complete no show.

I would not be upset if we had lost by 25 points but had played the butts off but there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for a no show.

I feel terrible for driving several hours in rain to watch that pathetic display of basketball.

Kristen Downing 6 years, 10 months ago

Matt, always like and need your positivity, but I think you are really stretching it with number two and three on reasons to 😊. It was definitely a struggle to find anything positive about a second blowout. My positive, I don't have to watch them play for seven days. Used to only say that about the football team.

Eliott Reeder 6 years, 10 months ago

Hey Kristen, guess what? You never have to watch them again! Change the channel, close your eyes, go in the other room when the Jayhawks hit your TV screen. OR... quit being such fair-weather fans, look at the big picture, and support your team regardless!

Kristen Downing 6 years, 10 months ago

Sorry to hurt your feelings Eliott. It's nothing personal.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 10 months ago

Elliott any other rules you would like to clarify for us posters on your site? Is there a link or something for your rules? Wait its not your site so she gets a voice just like everyone else. hmmm

Maybe you can try to disagree with her by saying what was positive about that game that you liked. Guess what, you can't so you rail on the poster. Why is it so beyond reason to be upset with your teams effort after a display like that? You know they do not hand out participation medals for winning in college right?

David Kemp 6 years, 10 months ago

You can't let this go without mentioning what a deer in the headlights performance was given by Perry Ellis. This team needs him to be a daily double double guy and he is missing on all cylinders right now.

Arthur Ankeney 6 years, 9 months ago

I would hesitate to say this team needs Perry Ellis to be a daily double double guy, and I would really fear if that statement is true. I like Ellis, a lot, but if there's one thing that has been shown over his 2+ years here, it's that he will not be a "daily" anything. His ability to check out of games within the first 5 minutes has been his largest downfall. I would venture to say, you can typically tell within the first 5 minutes of the game whether or not he will perform. That being said, this team should not be reliant on him. They have the talent throughout to not be reliant on him. What they lack is a low post scorer, but Ellis has never been this anyway--he's more of a 3 who can't handle the ball.

Bob Bailey 6 years, 10 months ago

The team has seemed to get Ahead of the coaches in regard to the science of coaching. They are being sent to the rim when it is NOT possible. You can't take it to the opponent when they are 3 - 6 in. taller and every bit as athletic. These disasters will continue till the mindset of coaching continues.

Perry went to work after the KY game to improve his accuracy on the not so close hook, jump shot, and maybe put back. He did improve, but it interfered with his free-throws. (more on this later in another post). And Greene found a way to "Get in The Zone" making all 5 of his next 3;s and all 3 of his second 3;s, and 100% of his free throws till the coaches put him OUT of the Zone with an inappropriate drop from starting for a half hour late for weight lifting. Surely a more appropriate punishment might have preserved him "In The Zone.

Self has muscle-memory -- how else could he have been the MVP in the old-guys baseball game. But he may not know and be able to teach it. We are likely to have disasters sending guys to the rim when it is Not possible.

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