Bill Self saw something different with this team after non-conference play. He saw that his young Jayhawks weren't living up to their potential quite yet. And it was the start of conference play, providing an uneasiness taste in a lot of KU fan's mouths. He couldn't put his finger on it. Was it experience? No, this team has played by far the toughest schedule in all of basketball. Maybe it was toughness? Leadership? Well that's not it.
Cohesion and being consistent was Self's main staple. Which is something Self is known for with his teams right around this time in January. But before he started to peel back all of the layers of this young Kansas team. He made a remark, that has proved to have gotten into all the players heads. And that is simply the word "Fun". "Most of the games that we have been playing lately we play tight" a quote by Bill Self expressing his emotions on this teams demeanor. Then Self told his squad to make your huddles a little bit tighter, leave your bodies out on the floor. And most importantly have fun doing it. This has seemed to be Kansas calling card right now, all of sudden the shots have started to fall, Tharpe has become a reliable scorer at Point. Embiid and Wiggins have found rhythm in their own game. That brutal out of conference schedule has proven beneficial to Kansas. They have become tougher, more used to these game situations.
At Oklahoma, in Kansas first Big 12 game. Kansas showed will, toughness to get a confidence building win in Norman. By having Wayne Selden, a player who has peaked at the right time to lead KU in scoring. Then we saw Kansas play its best game so far this season with another beatdown over in state rival KState. Lastly, just yesterday, Kansas went into Hilton Coliseum and play in a tough, emotional cauldron type of environment. Kansas showed their metal by withstanding a few blows by Iowa State. In which resulting in punching back even harder, going on game breaking runs to start both the 1st and 2nd halfs. And what Self calls "having fun" or just playing "carefree basketball" seems to be that type of fuel this Kansas team is lit under. They are not fragile anymore, not frightened by new venues. Right now it appears, like this team is having their best games by not really worrying about the game within the game and just playing.
With the schedule as brutal as it is right now, becoming to heat up. Will be another mountain for KU to climb. But this team has endured so much at this point. And to most of us having fun is a good thing, no matter how much you're winning.