Well it was bound to happen, and I think quite a few Kansas fans were wary of the return trip to Ames, so the loss to the Cyclones shouldn't be terribly surprising. But I am torn as to whether the way Kansas lost is a good sign or a bad sign. On one hand, Kansas got outworked at nearly every turn (their offensive rebounding rate of 16.7% was their second worst of the Self era), but they were still in the game until the late stages, so perhaps whether they win or lose is more up to them than anything. I get the argument that the full effort should be there every game, but at the same time I don't think there will be the same problems in the NCAA tournament (though focus is another matter).
On the positive side, I thought they did a decent job with Royce White. He had 18 points and 9 rebounds, but he turned it over 6 times next to only 5 assists. The main problem came from helping off the shooters to collapse on White (even when he wasn't in any position to hurt anyone), which was a big culprit in Iowa State's 41.2% effort from behind the arc.
The other thing that jumped out at me was the frequency at which Iowa State got to the line. They had a 75% FT rate and took 34 free throws, making (25) more than Kansas even attempted (16). Adding in the fact that they took fewer shots from the field I'd point to some sort of the refs lost it for us conspiracy, but I don't reside in Missouri (as you can tell by my ability to type in English), so instead I'll just say that Kansas did a pretty poor job of keeping the Cyclones from going to the line, but with Royce White's ability to get their plus his general troubles in converting once he gets there, they should get a mini pass.
The biggest problem, of course, was the foul trouble that those fouls led to. Robinson, Johnson and Withey all had four, and Taylor had to play long stretches with three. The depth is an even bigger problem than I thought it would be at the start of the season, and a game like that in the tournament could see an early exit.
- Because I always like to start with the positives, Tyshawn Taylor had a pretty fantastic game. He had 16 points, going 6-11 from the field (5-8 from two, 1-3 from three) and 3-6 from the line. He also had 10 assists next to only 2 turnovers.
- Thomas Robinson had a not very POY-esque game, scoring 13 points on 5-10 shooting and grabbing 7 rebounds, but turning it over five times. He has seemingly regressed a bit in terms of identifying and passing out of double teams.
- Elijah Johnson had one of his better games, scoring 10 points and going 2-3 from both two and three. He made another nice pull up jumper that hopefully has been burned onto his "shots Elijah Johnson should be attempting" DVD, which is up to maybe three shots now.
- Withey had 10 points (4-5) and 6 rebounds, but only one block. Iowa State did a much better job luring him out of the paint and forced him to move side to side across the lane, limiting his ability to get set to block shots. He also picked up two fouls about 30 feet from the basket, which is something that should be punished by making him run stadium stairs every time it happens.
- Sigh, Conner Teahan. 1-6 from three and not offering anything else isn't going to cut it. On one hand, those ideally would be Ben McLemore's minutes, so I can't blame Teahan for much, but on the other hand the one Bill Self pet peeve I have is that he gets married to a rotation far too quickly. It's true I can't see what, for example, Merv Lindsey does in practice, but on the other hand I don't see the problem with giving him (or Young, or someone) extended minutes against the South Floridas of the world. You know what Teahan is going to give you, so why not try to figure out the unknowns? Either way, he's now shooting 35% from three on the year, which would be fine for a player who can do a lot of things, but for a guy whose only function is to keep the ball moving and shoot threes, it is far too low.