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The Day After: Oklahoma

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor celebrates a steal by the Jayhawks before Oklahoma forward D.J. Bennett during the first half on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2013 at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor celebrates a steal by the Jayhawks before Oklahoma forward D.J. Bennett during the first half on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2013 at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Oklahoma. by Nick Krug

The beginning of Big 12 Conference play is as good a time as any to roll out this new feature. So, just as we did with our new pregame feature from Benton Smith, here's a little postgame flavor for those of you who wake up still thinking about KU's latest game.

We won't go into intense detail or labor over this stat or that one, but we will give you a few things to chew on before you move past the latest game and onto the next one.

Obviously, by now, you're well aware of how big KU's 90-83 victory at Oklahoma on Wednesday was for this team, especially when you consider it came on the heels of its first non-conference home loss since 2006 just a few days earlier.

KU coach Bill Self said the victory was KU's second best of the season — right behind Duke — and seemed pleased with the way a couple of his younger guys stepped up when KU really needed them to.

That leads perfectly into the meat of this feature, so, without further ado, I give you the first installment of “The Day After.”

Quick takeaway:
If nothing else, KU proved, once again, that it is capable of responding to a setback with a solid effort. The Jayhawks really needed a good showing at OU and they got it. If this win goes down as the game that jump-started solid seasons for Wayne Selden (24 points on 9-of-17 shooting, including 5-of-10 from downtown) and Conner Frankamp (5 points on 2-of-3 shooting in 13 minutes), the Jayhawks just got a lot better.

Three reasons to smile:
1 - There were still a couple of times when KU let OU push them around, but, for the most part, the Jayhawks were much better inside in this one, out-rebounding the Sooners by 14 and limiting OU to several one-and-done possessions. OU had out-rebounded its previous six opponents by an average of 10 boards per game.

2 - Freshman Conner Frankamp proved that he could be a reliable and productive option at point guard when Naadir Tharpe was forced to sit with three first-half fouls. I'd say giving Frankamp an excessive amount of credit here could be making too much of it, but you've gotta consider all of the factors. The guy did it on the road, against a good team with tough, experienced guards despite entering the night averaging less than seven minutes per outing.

3 - Top-three scorers Andrew Wiggins (1st at 15.3 ppg) and Joel Embiid (3rd at 10.5 ppg) had off nights offensively — combining to shoot just 4-for-13 — yet the Jayhawks still managed to put up 90 points. All of that quality depth that we've talked about all season finally showed up when it truly mattered.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis fights for a rebound with Oklahoma defenders Tyler Neal (15), Buddy Hield and Cameron Clark during the second half on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2013 at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis fights for a rebound with Oklahoma defenders Tyler Neal (15), Buddy Hield and Cameron Clark during the second half on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2013 at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Oklahoma. by Nick Krug

Three reasons to sigh:
1 - If not for 55 percent shooting for the game, including 64 percent shooting in the first half, KU probably would've lost this one. The reason? Defense. Oklahoma got into the paint way too easily and got a lot of open three-point looks. In addition, the Sooners turned it over just nine times. KU isn't going to be able to outscore everybody it plays and the Jayhawks are going to have to toughen up defensively, particularly on the ball, if they want to resemble the teams we've gotten used to seeing around here.

2 - After a breakout game against Georgetown in late December, senior forward Tarik Black has not taken the next step. In the three games since his 17-point, 6-rebound, 20-minute effort against the Hoyas, Black has played just 18 minutes combined and committed six fouls in that time.

3 - Things don't get any easier at any point in the near future. KU returns home for three of its next four games, but those three games come against in-state rival Kansas State (Saturday), No. 11 Oklahoma State (Jan. 18) and No. 7 Baylor (Jan. 20). Sprinkled in between there is a trip to No. 9 Iowa State on Monday.

One thought for the road:
A few quick records of note following Wednesday's victory, which: • Extended KU’s conference-opening winning streak to 23 games dating back to the 1991-92 season
• Made the Kansas-Oklahoma series 140-65 in favor of KU
• Gave the Jayhawks the 18-16 edge over the Sooners in games played in the Lloyd Noble Center
• Improved Bill Self to 12-4 all-time against Oklahoma, 310-63 while at Kansas and 517-169 in his 21st season overall
• Made KU 2,111-816 all-time

Next up:
KU plays host to K-State at 1 p.m. Saturday in what promises to be another fun and exciting edition of the Sunflower Showdown.

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Comments

John Fitzgerald 3 months, 1 week ago

Exactly why one of two things needs to happen: 1.) Players are required to get a degree before leaving college to the NBA or 2.) High school players are allowed to go straight to the NBA if the NBA feels they are ready. If kids don't want to play college don't make them. No reason to waste anyone's time. Think of how much time is wasted by the coaches. And for what? One year? Has to be frustrating and to be honest could be the reason Self eventually leaves for the NBA. Constantly recruiting has got to be tiring.

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Brandon Mahon 3 months, 1 week ago

I think Selden is a 2 year player to maybe more.. He tweets about Rock Chalk forever and stuff, and he looks like he really is enjoying his time at KU so hopefully that could keep him there. I think Embiid is really considering staying 2-3 years. Money is not a huge issue like it was with BMac, and if he is doing all the research people say than staying 3-4 years is the best thing for a big man. Wiggins will most likely go but he needs to get his mentality together and impose his will athletically he doesn't need to shoot but take people off the dribble.

I am so glad to see Self give Greene, Frankamp, and White some time in each half, and rode Frankamp instead of putting in Mason. He gave them enough time to show something, he needs to continue to do this. We have that depth, give them a chance and maybe something will click and they will really help us in scenarios, and give us another dimension that we need.

Traylor did EXACTLY what we need from him rebounding and hustling, thats where his points will come from and Ellis had a great game. I would honestly rather see Lucas out there more than Black.. Yea Black is more athletic but fouls and cant seem to finish.. Lucas at least rebounds and hustles.

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Steve Corder 3 months, 1 week ago

With all the hype over Wiggins and 1 & done kids, it is truly sad that they will never get to see their jersey hoisted to the top of Allen Fieldhouse or stick around long enough to develop star quality statistics along side the great players that spent several years in one of the richest programs of all time.

I resent the NBA and what they have done to college basketball. Would there have been Danny and the Miracles in 1988?

Wiggins and Embid aren't ready for the NBA game, but the money is. Maybe it's good for them but it does nothing for the college game.

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Scut Farkus 3 months, 1 week ago

I don't usually like to criticize the refs but the 1st half seemed terribly unbalanced. Not that KU didn't deserve the calls but OU was getting away with similar offenses and no whistles.

I'm still not convinced this team has what it takes to make an extended run in the Tournament but Selden will give them a big lift if he continues to as aggressive as he was. Frankamp will never be a threat to penetrate but he extends the opponents defense with his outside shooting.

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Brad Farha 3 months, 1 week ago

@Matt -- thank you for all the great coverage. Frankamp got more minutes today, partly because of Tharpe's foul trouble, but also due to the matchup with shorter guards. Given that, what games later in the season do you see as good matchups for Frankamp?

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Ron Prichard 3 months, 1 week ago

Matt, SDSU was the first non-conference home loss since 2006. KU lost at home last year in the league to OSU.

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Casey Osburn 3 months, 1 week ago

We'll be playing a KSUck team Saturday that is statistically far better than we are defensively. I am glad round one is in Lawrence. If we had to play them in Mancrappie tomorrow, I wouldn't like our chances.

Bruce Weber will thrive with Frank Martin's juniors and seniors this year and possibly next. Then, like Illinois, we will see a true Bruce Weber team in year 4. Remember, he didn't get to the title game at Illinois until year 2. Year 3 he started 15-0. By year 6 of the Weber tenure, Illinois finished 13-18 and 5-13 in the Big 10. It's coming....like a damn hurricane...it's coming. :)

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Joe Joseph 3 months, 1 week ago

I take minor exception with the notion that Oklahoma "got into the paint way too easily and got a lot of open three point looks." If that were truly the case, OU would have had far more than 7 assists.

I don't know the end tally, but I remember seeing a statistic (I think late in the 1st half) that Kansas had scored 20-some-odd points in the paint, while OU had scored ZERO.

I recognize that that stat is a bit misleading (in terms of actually getting into the paint) because OU was fouled often times on drives, which translated to points being accredited to the FT line.

BUT, OU only had 7 assists on 24 made field goals, which also suggests OU wasn't exactly driving and dishing all of the time.

To me, it seemed like most of OU's offense came from 1-on-1 dribble/drive and shoot, with a couple of screens here and there. There was very little "organized offense," which seems to be OU's style. And when you have the shooters, why not?

I'm certainly not refuting the point that KU needs to improve defensively on the perimeter, but part of that weakness comes from Self's reluctance to play anything other than man defense. In a game when touch fouls are being called excessively, it's virtually impossible to keep anyone with average D1 ball handling skills and quickness in front of you. The advantage will always be with the offensive player, unless he is being guarded by an exceptional defender. Which is exactly what the new rules were supposed to accomplish. Except the new rules are only sometimes enforced. (Different discussion for a different day.)

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Daniel Kennamore 3 months, 1 week ago

Factoid:

'The Day After' was a tv mini-series in the 80's that was set in Lawrence, Kansas. The movie was about the aftermath of a nuclear attack and at one point shows a missle being launced out of what appears to be Allen Field House.

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