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The Day After: Total domination at TCU

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Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) delivers on a lob jam against TCU during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016 at Schollmaier Arena in Forth Worth, Texas.

Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) delivers on a lob jam against TCU during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016 at Schollmaier Arena in Forth Worth, Texas. by Nick Krug

The three-game road losing streak is over, the Kansas Jayhawks are back on track and they have roughly a day or two — maybe little more than the length of today’s Super Bowl — to actually enjoy it.

Because if anyone on this team thinks that the efforts they put forth against K-State or TCU during their sweep of the purple people last week will be enough during the coming week against West Virginia (Tuesday at home) and Oklahoma (Saturday in Norman), they might soon be in for a rude awakening.

That said, the TCU game was a solid outing for Kansas for a number of reasons. No. 1: The way KU had played on the road lately, even a game against a team like TCU was no guarantee, especially if the Frogs came out with energy and enthusiasm looking to shock the world the way K-State did against Oklahoma in Manhattan on Saturday.

That didn’t happen. And KU (19-4 overall, 7-3 Big 12) had more than a little to do with that. The Jayhawks imposed their will on the Frogs (10-13, 1-9) early and never trailed. In fact, the game was only tied for 16 seconds. Other than that, KU led for 39 minutes and 44 seconds, marking the first time in Big 12 play this season that a KU opponent never led.

Quick takeaway

Kansas needed this win in the worst way. Sure, the Jayhawks knocked off K-State and Kentucky in their past two outings, but those games were at home and the K-State game was ugly. This one was on the road, where KU had looked terrible in its last three outings and, more importantly, was against a team that KU had no business letting hang around. Had KU struggled in this one or, worse yet, lost at TCU, things would’ve have been very ugly around Lawrence for the next week or so and you would have had to wonder about KU’s confidence heading into its two biggest games of the year. But none of that matters now. KU rolled, looked pretty good in doing so and now heads home for a showdown with first-place West Virginia (8-2 in Big 12) with an opportunity to seize control of the league race in the next six days.

Three reasons to smile

1 – The Jayhawks took care of business exactly where they should’ve in this one, dominating the Horned Frogs inside and improving upon two key numbers from the last meeting between these two, a seven-point KU win in Lawrence. In that one, KU out-rebounded TCU 44-37 and outscored TCU 30-16 in the paint. In this one, KU dominated both areas, out-rebounding the Frogs 46-25 (the largest edge enjoyed by KU this season) and outscoring TCU a whopping 46-14 in the paint. One of the most notable individual efforts in this one was the job KU did on Vlad Brodziansky. In the first meeting, Brodziansky finished with a dozen rebounds, including six on the offensive glass. On Saturday, the 6-10 sophomore was held without a rebound in 21 minutes.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) bangs inside for a bucket against TCU forward JD Miller (15) and forward Vladimir Brodziansky (10) during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016 at Schollmaier Arena in Forth Worth, Texas.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) bangs inside for a bucket against TCU forward JD Miller (15) and forward Vladimir Brodziansky (10) during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016 at Schollmaier Arena in Forth Worth, Texas. by Nick Krug

2 – Tip of the cap to Perry Ellis, not just for another night leading the Jayhawks in scoring. That’s pretty much expected and hardly a surprise these days. The tip of the cap goes to Ellis for showing a little nastiness in each of the past two games. Two games ago, against K-State, Ellis flushed a couple of dunks with a little extra authority and he did the same thing on Saturday against TCU. Call it senior urgency, call it extra focus, call it Ellis wanting to send a message that he and this KU team are tougher than people believe. Whatever it is, it’s a good look for both Ellis and the Jayhawks.

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) dishes a pass around TCU guard Brandon Parrish during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016 at Schollmaier Arena in Forth Worth, Texas.

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) dishes a pass around TCU guard Brandon Parrish during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016 at Schollmaier Arena in Forth Worth, Texas. by Nick Krug

3 – Jamari Traylor (a) showed, once again, why Bill Self has stuck with him all of these years and (b) showed once again how comfortable he is with his new, limited role. In years past, Traylor might have been bothered by the limited minutes he’s getting. But not senior Jamari. This guy is making the most of every second he can and, in the past couple of games, has brought great energy to the floor for the Jayhawks to set the tone for the game. Traylor finished with six points, seven rebounds (5 offensive) and five fouls in 15 minutes on Saturday.

Three reasons to sigh

1 – Generally speaking, I think KU fans are often way too critical of Bill Self and his coaching decisions/philosophies, especially during any rough stretches that the Jayhawks might encounter. But I have to agree with those KU fans scratching their heads over why Cheick Diallo and Carlton Bragg played just 10 minutes apiece in this one. As mentioned above, KU never trailed and was up by 15-20 points for most of the second half. That seems to be a perfect recipe for Bragg and Diallo to play double-digit minutes just in the second half. Instead, the two played just seven (Diallo) and six (Bragg) minutes in the second half while a couple of KU starters continued to log heavy minutes. Self did get Selden and Graham a little rest, but Mason (39) and Ellis (34) still played more than they probably needed to.

Kansas forward Cheick Diallo (13) looks to pass as he is defended by TCU forward Karviar Shepherd (32) during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016 at Schollmaier Arena in Forth Worth, Texas.

Kansas forward Cheick Diallo (13) looks to pass as he is defended by TCU forward Karviar Shepherd (32) during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016 at Schollmaier Arena in Forth Worth, Texas. by Nick Krug

2 – At some point, it’s going to catch up to them. Junior guard Frank Mason just can’t keep taking the kind of beating that he takes night in night out and play at the top of his game down the stretch. Saturday represented an outstanding opportunity to give Mason a little rest, especially in the second half and especially with sophomore guard Devonte’ Graham on top of his game, yet Mason played 39 minutes and took a few more hard falls and crushing collisions. Give the young man credit for handling it to this point, but you have to wonder how much more he can take and if it’s all of these beatings that is affecting his shooting.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) turns backward for a ball after stripping it from TCU guard Chauncey Collins (1) during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016 at Schollmaier Arena in Forth Worth, Texas.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) turns backward for a ball after stripping it from TCU guard Chauncey Collins (1) during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016 at Schollmaier Arena in Forth Worth, Texas. by Nick Krug

3 – The KU players struggled to keep themselves from fouling in this one, sending TCU to the free throw line 33 times (to just 13 for Kansas) and out-fouling the Frogs 26-18. TCU missed 10 of those trips to the free throw line and KU hit all but two of its charity shots. And the Jayhawks were much better defensively in the first half than the second. Had KU been able to keep its hands off just a little better, TCU may have struggled to even reach 40 points.

One for the road

KU’s comfortable road win over TCU...

• Made Kansas 19-4, 7-3 in Big 12 play.

• Gave KU its eighth-straight win against TCU, making the series 12-1 in favor of the Jayhawks.

• KU KU 6-4 in games away from Allen Fieldhouse this season, including 3-3 in true road contests.

• Made Bill Self 371-78 while at Kansas, 578-187 all-time and 16-4 versus TCU (9-1 while at Kansas).

• Makes KU 2,172-835 all-time.

Next up

With the latest road test out of the way, the Jayhawks will jump into what figures to be their toughest week of the 2015-16 season. KU will play host to West Virginia at 6 p.m. Tuesday night and then will travel to Oklahoma for a 1:30 p.m. tip-off next Saturday in Norman. Both teams entered Saturday ahead of KU in the Big 12 standings and both games will go a long way toward determining whether KU can keep its streak of consecutive Big 12 regular season titles alive. It was announced Saturday that next weekend’s KU-Oklahoma game will be the host site for ESPN’s College Gameday.

— See what people were saying about Kansas at TCU during KUsports.com’s live coverage.


More news and notes from Kansas at TCU




By the Numbers: Kansas 75, TCU 56

By the Numbers: Kansas 75, TCU 56

Comments

Adam Gerval 5 years, 11 months ago

Have to agree with you on this one, Matt. I have no idea why Mason needed to play 39 minutes. And then you see him twist his ankle with 2 minutes left. What's the point? Same thing with Ellis. And of course, gotta wonder why in the world you wouldn't play Mickelson, Bragg, or Diallo more in a blowout. Especially with Lucas playing terrible...or just playing about as good as he can.

Suzi Marshall 5 years, 11 months ago

Lucas played a good steady game. My only critique would be his attempts to put the ball on the floor when making the catch in the low post. I'd prefer he put the ball up right away or pass it out to an open shooter, even if it is Mason in the corner, as it was on one of the two occasions Saturday.

Michael Lorraine 5 years, 11 months ago

And the way Frank drives the lane with so much traffic almost guarantees him hitting the floor. Mason's health is my number one concern going forward.

A. J. Daggett 5 years, 11 months ago

Can any of you Jayhawk fans explain to me the meaning of two signs at the KU - Kentucky game? One said "Rock Chalk Maty Mauk" and the other said "Maty Mauk to K.U." I know who Maty Mauk is but can't figure out the correlation.

Michael Lorraine 5 years, 11 months ago

Maty was kicked off the missouri football team so apparently there are some KU folks who would like him to come to Lawrence.

Robert Brock 5 years, 11 months ago

I want to see Mason get some time on the pine while Devonte runs the point. Mason is a tough little guy; Graham is developing into the good point guard KU needs.

Humpy Helsel 5 years, 11 months ago

Have to agree with you, Matt. My biggest criticism of Coach (greatly outweighed by my total respect of him as a person, and as a coach) is not getting the players you noted needed minutes on the floor and the others you mentioned, needed rest. Why don't you guys be a little more aggressive with the Prince of the City at your press conferences with him? How about, "Coach! Why in the world do you have Frank out there for 39 minutes with 5 to go and a comfortable lead, and why didn't you use the opportunity to get Cheick, LaGerald and Carlton more minutes. And what about the chance to get some rust off of Hunter?" I'm sure you would get an explanation from him which makes total sense in his way of thinking. But dang, go ahead Coach, enlighten us.

Pius Waldman 5 years, 11 months ago

Our opinions tell others how we feel about things. We naturally like to point out how to play,who should play, and how many minutes. Some feel certain players don't get jerked if they make a mistake and others get the bench for the first mistake. Maybe I'm the lone ranger but Self nearly always gives players the verbal criticism and is less vocal when good plays happen. I'm a believer that making players look bad through interviews would better be handled in private. Just today a player from Eudora committed to Creighton and from reports the Greene handling might have been a factor.

Armen Kurdian 5 years, 11 months ago

One concern is Lucas in the paint. He's got to quit putting the ball on the floor, especially if he catches it up high. He needs to practice that over & over so the feeling of turning and shooting comes naturally. He needs to do that regardless of where he thinks the defender is. Sure a fake is fine, turn out vice in, but don't get low, that's a sure fire recipe for a block or turnover.

Glen Miller 5 years, 11 months ago

I honestly don't think coach trusts anyone to run the point outside of Mason and Graham. Graham was in foul trouble, so Mason had to log the minutes. Selden is sometimes an option to run the point in dire straights, but he was ill. I just think it was a numbers game or Self would have probably cut back on his minutes, I would assume. I know some will say that Self and Manning are options..... but come on, seriously. Other than garbage minutes, neither of those guys handle the point consistent enough to put them in for long stretches.

I could be way off and probably am, but this would be my guess as to why Mason played so many minutes. I'm sure Self would love to get him some rest.

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