Skidding No. 9 Kansas has little margin

Invoice Self hasn’t needed to undergo many stretches like this in his 20 seasons at Kansas. But the coach hasn’t appeared indignant and even all that discouraged throughout a uncommon three-game dropping streak.

Self is aware of this isn’t the identical Jayhawks workforce that received the nationwide championship final season.

Kansas (16-4, 5-3 Huge 12) has gone from having one of many nation’s most skilled rosters to a a lot youthful group with no confirmed presence within the publish in a loaded Big 12 Conference that could be higher than ever.

“We don’t have as a lot margin for error as we’ve had in years previous and that’s OK,” Self mentioned. “However (when) you don’t have fairly as a lot margin for error, and the opposite groups within the league are quite a bit higher, it makes it robust.”

The ninth-ranked Jayhawks have misplaced three in a row for less than the fourth time below Self. Every loss was to a ranked convention opponent, two on the highway. The latest was 75-69 at Baylor on Monday night time in a matchup of the final two nationwide champions, the fifth win in a row for the Seventeenth-ranked Bears.

“I’ll be trustworthy with you, I’ve received to take a distinct strategy and perceive that it’s a marathon,” Self mentioned. “It’s not a direct response, as a result of you may react instantly on this league, and also you’ll have 9 different groups undergo the very same factor in some unspecified time in the future.”

Kansas remains to be loaded with expertise.

Junior ahead Jalen Wilson leads the Huge 12 with in scoring at 21.4 factors per sport and is second in rebounds at 8.6. Whereas 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 likely one of the high help males at 6.5 per sport regardless of his prolonged taking pictures struggles.

However these Jayhawks are totally different than most of Self’s standout groups up to now that performed by means of the publish with large guys like David McCormack, Jeff Withy, Thomas Robinson or Udoka Azubuike.

McCormack was a part of final 12 months’s title workforce, 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/Huge 12 Problem sport Saturday at Kentucky (14-6), which won 80-62 at Allen Fieldhouse last season. The Jayhawks will probably be making an attempt to keep away from their first four-game dropping streak since 1988-89, their first season below coach Roy Williams.

After going to Rupp Enviornment to face coach John Calipari’s struggling Wildcats, the Jayhawks return to convention play towards fifth-ranked Kansas State. They then open the second half of their Huge 12 schedule at No. 12 Iowa State earlier than internet hosting No. 10 Texas.

Their current skid began with an 83-82 overtime loss final week at Ok-State, which had a 14-point lead halfway by means of 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 home loss in the Self era.

“Our league is that good,” Self mentioned. “It’s going to be a grind.”

The Jayhawks trailed by as many as 13 halfway by means of the primary half at Baylor. They took their solely lead when Wilson swished a 3-pointer with 15 1/2 minutes left, however the Bears responded with a 12-3 run.

“The way in which that Ok-State performed the primary 10 minutes, the best way TCU performed the primary 10 minutes, and the best way Baylor performed the primary 10 minutes, if we had performed rather well, we’d have nonetheless been behind,” Self mentioned, 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 large.

“Whenever you’re on high and you will get driving time, it takes twice as a lot power in the event you’re the low man in wrestling. … It’s precisely the best way basketball is simply too,” Self mentioned. “Whenever you’re behind, it takes extra power, every little thing’s magnified, it takes extra effort. And whenever you’re enjoying with the lead, clearly you’re looser, every little thing’s not life or dying.”


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