KU Wins 12th Straight Big 12 Title

With only three games remaining in the regular season, No. 2 Kansas hosted Texas Tech in Allen Fieldhouse with the chance to secure at least a share of its incredible, 12th straight conference championship.

With two games remaining at home, and the last being against Iowa State, it would have been in KU’s best interest to make sure they locked up at least a share against an inferior–although vastly improved–Texas Tech.

The game was sluggish from the start and neither team seemed capable of lighting up the scoreboard, but the Jayhawks came out with one of its best defensive performances of the season, particularly its first-shot defense. The Red Raiders had multiple shot-clock violations in the first half and were trying to get into their offensive sets closer to half court than they were closer to the rim.

Offensively, the Jayhawks had their own struggles. Senior forward Perry Ellis and junior guard Wayne Selden, Jr., were almost non-existent for Bill Self.

With the two leaders struggling, Self went to his bench early and often. Sophomore Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk lit the scoreboard on fire, scoring 17 points for the game and hitting all 5 of his three-pointers including a remarkable last-second shot to end the first half.

Point guard Frank Mason III was also highly engaged and feeling it on the offensive end. His 16 points and constant attack-mode kept the Red Raiders at bay.

As Self stated after the game, however, the Jayhawks have been playing so well in winning 9 games in a row, that they have reached what he called a, “semi-phase,” of thinking they can turn on the switch whenever they want. That mentality was evident after leading Tech by 20 midway through the second half, then allowing them to get within 8 down the stretch. The game was never in doubt, but the simple fact that Kansas went into cruise control with time left on the clock is something Self and his staff will have to combat, especially now that they have locked up another league title with two games to go.

Assuming the Jayhawks go at least 1-1 in its last two games, play well in the Big 12 tournament, they are all but locked into a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. With two difficult opponents to go to finish out the regular season, staying focused on winning the title outright is the key for KU.

Self made it clear after Saturday’s win that his team has plenty of more work to do before the season is truly over, and since he has been at Kansas, he has continuously stressed that sharing the conference crown isn’t something his team should be satisfied with.

KU has one home game left this season with Iowa State coming to town for senior night. It’s likely the athletic department will have something planned to recognize long-time broadcaster, Bob Davis, as he is hanging up the headset after this season and retiring after an incredible run as the voice of the Jayhawks. With Iowa State coming in as a top 25 team and one capable of beating KU, it’ll be an intense finale to the regular season in Allen Fieldhouse. Tickets For Less has a variety of seats available for next Saturday’s game. With zero hidden service fees, what you see is what you get on all ticket purchases. Don’t miss your last chance to see the Jayhawks in Allen Fieldhouse this season!

KU Falls to ISU

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!