Bill Self hasn’t needed to undergo many stretches like this in his 20 seasons at Kansas. Yet the coach hasn’t appeared indignant and even all that discouraged throughout a uncommon three-game shedding streak.
Self is aware of this is not the identical Jayhawks group that received the nationwide championship final season.
Kansas (16-4, 5-3 Big 12) has gone from having one of many nation’s most skilled rosters to a a lot youthful group with out a confirmed presence within the submit in a loaded Big 12 Conference that could be higher than ever.
“We do not have as a lot margin for error as we have had in years previous and that is OK,” Self stated. “But [when] you do not have fairly as a lot margin for error, and the opposite groups within the league are loads higher, it makes it robust.”
The ninth-ranked Jayhawks have misplaced three in a row for solely the fourth time beneath Self. Each loss was to a ranked convention opponent, two on the street. The newest was 75-69 at Baylor on Monday night time in a matchup of the previous two nationwide champions, the fifth win in a row for the Seventeenth-ranked Bears.
“I’ll be trustworthy with you, I’ve bought to take a distinct method and perceive that it is a marathon,” Self stated. “It’s not an instantaneous response, as a result of you possibly can react instantly on this league, and you will have 9 different groups undergo the very same factor sooner or later.”
Kansas remains to be loaded with expertise.
Junior ahead Jalen Wilson leads the Big 12 in scoring at 21.4 factors per recreation and is second in rebounds at 8.6. While streaky, freshman Gradey Dick (14.9 PPG) is the league’s high 3-point shooter at 43.7%, and Texas Tech switch Kevin McCullar Jr. averages 7.3 rebounds. Dajuan Harris Jr. is among the high help males at 6.5 per recreation regardless of his prolonged taking pictures struggles.
But these Jayhawks are totally different than most of Self’s standout groups up to now that performed by the submit with massive guys equivalent to David McCormack, Jeff Withey, Thomas Robinson or Udoka Azubuike.
McCormack was a part of final yr’s title group, together with first-round NBA draft picks Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun. The Jayhawks additionally misplaced ballhandler Remy Martin and veteran sharpshooter Jalen Coleman-Lands.
Kansas performs its SEC/Big 12 Challenge recreation Saturday at Kentucky (14-6), which received 80-62 at Allen Fieldhouse final season. The Jayhawks might be making an attempt to keep away from their first four-game shedding streak since 1988-89, their first season beneath coach Roy Williams.
After going to Rupp Arena to face coach John Calipari’s struggling Wildcats, the Jayhawks return to convention play in opposition to fifth-ranked Kansas State. They then open the second half of their Big 12 schedule at No. 12 Iowa State earlier than internet hosting No. 10 Texas.
Their present skid started with an 83-82 extra time loss final week at Okay-State, which had a 14-point lead halfway by the primary half. TCU, now ranked eleventh, hit 13 of its first 15 pictures and had an early 19-0 run in an 83-60 win Saturday, the second-worst residence loss within the Self period.
“Our league is that good,” Self stated. “It’s going to be a grind.”
The Jayhawks trailed by as many as 13 halfway by the primary half at Baylor. They took their solely lead when Wilson swished a 3-pointer with 15½ minutes left, but the Bears responded with a 12-3 run.
“The means that Okay-State performed the primary 10 minutes, the way in which TCU performed the primary 10 minutes, and the way in which Baylor performed the primary 10 minutes, if we had performed very well, we might have nonetheless been behind,” Self stated, earlier than utilizing a wrestling analogy prompted by seeing two former Oklahoma State classmates within the postgame interview room at Baylor.
Brad Livingstone was a senior at Oklahoma State through the 1981-82 season, when Self was a freshman for the Cowboys. Livingstone’s spouse, Baylor president Linda Livingstone, additionally performed basketball for the varsity in Stillwater the place wrestling is massive.
“When you are on high and you may get driving time, it takes twice as a lot vitality in the event you’re the low man in wrestling. … It’s precisely the way in which basketball is just too,” Self stated. “When you are behind, it takes extra vitality, all the pieces’s magnified, it takes extra effort. And whenever you’re taking part in with the lead, clearly you are looser, all the pieces’s not life or loss of life.”