Heading into this season Bill Self talked about his concerns on the offensive end. At the end of this game, those concerns seemed justified. For much of the first half Kansas played very strong defensively and Kentucky struggled to get things going . The result was a 28-28 tie and as a Kansas fan you had to feel pretty good about the way things were going. Tyshawn Taylor, Elijah Johnson and Thomas Robinson had all been average at best, yet the Jayhawks were doing it with defense and key contributions from their bench.
At the start of the second half things started to shift. Kentucky's athleticism was an obvious advantage in the first half, but it was in the second half that the Wildcats started to exploit it. Kansas struggled to score as the Kentucky defense stepped up and the Jayhawk defense was less effective in holding down the Wildcat attack. Calipari was able to button things up and his team pulled away..
It was a measuring stick game and Kansas passed for a half. The second half played out like many expected and going forward the Jayhawks will need more from their starters and further consistency on the defensive end as the season goes on.
There were definitely positives for Kansas. Jeff Withey had a first half that would provide a welcome boost to the Kansas interior any day of the week. If he can continue to improve he'll definitely begin to approach the potential that many saw from him out of high school. Eventually Tyshawn Taylor was able to find a way to attack Kentucky and while it was somewhat too little too late he did take 17 trips to the charity stripe and found a way to use his aggressive style to create scoring opportunities on an off shooting night.
Bill Self also has some negative's to address with his team and he can use this one as a valuable teaching tool which isn't always a bad thing to have this early in the season. We all knew Kentucky was good, we didn't exactly know how good Kansas was, but now we've got a better idea as to what this team can and cannot do against a high level of competition at this stage in the season. That prospect of improvement of course provides the fun in watching a team develop and improve over the course of the next few months.
Final score in this one, Kentucky 75 Kansas 65. Tyshawn Taylor leads the Jayhawks with 22 points, while Thomas Robinson added 11 before fouling out with just over three minutes to go. Next up the Jayhawks will take on the Georgetown Hoyas in another marquee matchup against a solid opponent.