It wasn’t the start No. 6/7 Kansas wanted against in-state rival Kansas State on Wednesday, but the end result was good enough for a win and another step in the right direction in an effort to salvage a Big 12 title for the Jayhawks.
Unfortunately for Bill Self, the chinks in the armor continue to show themselves.
After falling behind 16-7 in the first half, Bill Self inserted sophomore Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk into the game–a talented player that can’t find the floor–to spark his team and produce quality minutes, which he quickly did, bringing the Jayhawks right back into the game against KSU.
It had been three games in a row since Mykhailiuk actually played any significant minutes for Kansas after starting the year as one of the first two players off the bench for Self. Wednesday, however, proved to be a shining moment for a player expected to eventually become a first-round draft pick.
Defensively, Svi was in the right place and executed the game plan as instructed by Self–something Kansas has struggled with. Offensively, Svi showed his ability to move the ball around the perimeter, drove to the basket, and knocked down an outside shot. Without question, his performance was one of the main reasons for KU’s eventual dominating win over the Wildcats.
The negative coming out of Wednesday game is the simple fact that Kansas is still struggling as a team.
At times, the Jayhawks had a hard time running offense, unable to get the ball into the low post and settling for outside shots, and guard Frank Mason III continued to have trouble with his control after driving into traffic with no real purpose, resulting in turnovers, and inconsistent shooting. The one thing you can say for Mason, though, is his effort level never sways and he is determined to work himself out of his current slump.
In the second half, Kansas’ talent level took over and K-State didn’t have the horses to keep up. Had it been another team, such as an Oklahoma or West Virginia, the Jayhawks may have lost another conference game.
The main storyline came at the end of the game when the frequently embattled Brannen Greene decided to throw down a dunk with 2 seconds left in the game and both teams already well into their end-of-game hand shake line.
Self, immediately aware of his players’ dunk and even more aware of KSU players taking offense to the unsportsmanlike play, let the media know about his anger over Greene’s lack of class in the postgame radio interview, apologizing to Kansas State, using an expletive, and calling his players’ decision a classless act. Self also spoke of he and his staff having dealt with Greene and his poor decision making prior to Wednesday, promising it would never happen again, and if it did, Greene would never again see the floor at the end of a game.
Greene has a resume of on and off-court troubles which have led to him frequently finding himself in the doghouse with Self. It’s a troubling situation for not only a player which possesses plenty of talent, but for a team which seems to be missing something in terms of its makeup and personality. Whether it’s a chemistry issue or simply a slump they are having a hard time getting out of, the Kansas Jayhawks have some soul-searching to do if they have any intention of making a run at not only a Big 12 title, but a Final Four appearance.
KU will have an opportunity to progress forward and stay in the conference race when they travel to Fort Worth, Texas to take on TCU.
The Jayhawks have lost 3-straight road games and TCU isn’t quite the pushover they once were. Saturday’s game has all of a sudden become a must-win, which means the pressure is squarely on the shoulders of Kansas.
The next home game for the Jayhawks will be Tuesday, February 9 for a 6 pm tip against No. 14 West Virginia. The Mountaineers muscled the Jayhawks around in Morgantown in a win earlier this year and will look to use their press to do the same in Lawrence. Tickets are available now for the next home game, as well as all remaining home games this season. Tickets For Less has many seating options, as well as parking passes available for each and every home game. With zero hidden service fees, what you see is what you get with every purchase. Don’t miss your chance to see the Jayhawks take the court in Allen Fieldhouse. Get your tickets today and Rock Chalk!