Self, KU Looking For Answers


Coaches often talk about the peaks and valleys throughout a given season, regardless of what sport. For Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks, figuring out how to escape their current slump and inconsistent play has become priority number one.

After a tremendous start to the season, a No. 1 ranking, and an incredible win over then No. 2 Oklahoma in triple overtime, Kansas has seen the worst of its play so far this season.

While they narrowly lost at West Virginia–a top 10 team–the effort on the defensive end and composure against WVU’s press defense wasn’t impressive at all.

Following up their second loss of the season, Kansas defeated TCU in Allen Fieldhouse in what can only be labeled as an uninspiring performance.

Most recently, KU traveled to Stillwater, Okla., to take on Oklahoma State, a team with a 9-8 record and one of its least talented teams in recent years, and lost by 19 points. In doing so, looked as though they would have rather been doing just about anything other than playing basketball.

As Self said following the loss, everything that could have gone wrong for his team, did.

At 15-3 and currently ranked No. 3 in the country, the Jayhawks are by no means headed for the NIT, but for a team favored to win the Big 12 and considered a legitimate national title contender, Self has plenty of question marks moving forward, namely figuring out what can be done to inspire his players to enjoy the game they play and play with an intensity that will at a minimum match that of every single opponent Kansas will face this season.

One thing can be certain, the Jayhawks are going to get the very best from every team left on their schedule as the rest of the conference attempts to de-throne the king of the conference.

Self still must figure out his rotation moving forward, particularly with the fifth starting spot where he has tried nearly every combination he can. For the majority of the season, senior Hunter Mickelson has started at the center spot. Against Oklahoma State, freshman Cheick Diallo was given his opportunity. While his energy was good and natural play-making gave Kansas a boost, he missed several defensive assignments an failed to run one of the more basic offensive sets on two consecutive positions, earning him a spot on the bench.

Based on his performance and consistency coming off the bench, it would appear fellow freshman Carlton Bragg, Jr., is the man for the job.

Bragg has put up solid number when given the chance to play significant minutes, and he appears to have a better grasp of Kansas’ offense than Diallo at this stage.

KU is still one of the better teams in college basketball and a slump eventually hits every team. There have been more top 10 upsets this season than ever before, which means there is no truly elite team. The Jayhawks will have the chance to right the ship on Saturday when they take on Texas at Allen Fieldhouse.

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