Many Kansas fans predicted the struggling Jayhawks would likely fall to the Iowa State Cyclones, Monday night, which is why the first half was a pleasant surprise as Bill Self’s squad controlled the play in the opening minutes.
The second half was an entirely different story, however.
Right on cue, the Cyclones came out with a different level of intensity that Kansas appeared unable to match.
Led by point guard Monte Morris, ISU quickly overcame their deficit and took the lead at the under 16 timeout and seemingly never looked back.
Kansas fell back into the same sloppy mistakes and loss of poise which has plagued them in recent losses to both West Virginia and Oklahoma State.
The first half against Texas was similar, but playing at home and having the second half to correct it, KU was able to overcome and take down the Longhorns. This time, they were trying too hard to hold on to a marginal lead and the Cyclones jumped all over them.
The demise of the Jayhawks on Monday night starts with point guard Frank Mason III, who turned the ball over at an alarming rate and was the worst offender in terms of forcing the issue and not staying patient or poised during ISU’s run.
During the broadcast, it was discussed that Bill Self has told Mason he is a scorer, so go score and let Devonte’ Graham be the point guard. Mason didn’t heed those words in the second half against Iowa State, and it attributed to KU’s poor play.
Mason wasn’t the only offender, though. Wayne Selden, Jr., forced several ill-advised three point shots, and all in all, senior Perry Ellis appeared to be the only player on the floor making any positive impact on the game.
The real issue Kansas must figure out starts at the top with Bill Self. The 13-year Kansas coach has a resume which speaks for itself, and his seat will likely never be hot, or even lukewarm for that matter, but his inability to find stability in his rotation is becoming alarming and possibly bordering on not making sense.
At one point, Self had Landen Lucas, Jamari Traylor, and Brannen Greene on the floor at the same time. None of the three are ball handlers of any kind, and all struggle on the defensive end of the floor.
Lucas and Traylor were both called for illegal screens, and Greene’s play, although relatively good on Monday, is mostly limited to knocking down open three’s. Lucas and Traylor offer little to nothing on the offensive end, which means that particular rotations gave the Jayhawks 2-3 players among 5 that are able to put the ball in the basket.
Meanwhile, Carlton Bragg, Jr., and Cheick Diallo saw the floor is sparing minutes and not given much of an opportunity to make any type of impact. This is all coming off a game in which both players played well against TCU two weeks ago, and Diallo was given a starting role against Oklahoma State. Following that, over the past two games against both Texas and ISU, neither Bragg nor Diallo have played much.
Also distressing is the fact that regular rotation players like Hunter Mickelson and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk haven’t played at all.
At some point, one has to be concerned with the atmosphere inside the locker room with this Kansas team.
In sports, when a team is struggling, the only way to fix things in many cases is simply to go win. The Jayhawks have the opportunity to get that done on Saturday when they host the Kentucky Wildcats.
Kansas and Kentucky are the two winningest programs in all of college basketball and have had some memorable match-ups in recent years. With the big game on Saturday taking place in Allen Fieldhouse, don’t miss out on your chance to jump on remaining tickets to one of the biggest and most anticipated games at The Phog. Tickets For Less has tickets available for the big game, and with zero hidden service fees, what you see is what you get on all purchases. Don’t miss out on college basketball royalty facing off. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!