There were moments where this one was close, much closer than it needed to be. Still it never really felt in doubt. It wasn't like the Nebraska game or the Baylor game or any other game where Kansas seemed to be sleep walking and going through the motions. Against Iowa State it felt like the ability to run away with it was there and everyone was waiting for the right moment. One second Kansas was up just 3 but seemed very calm as a team, look away for a second and they sit comfortably ahead by 17. Maybe that's an overly optimistic and simplistic view but that's the way this one felt. Could it be that Kansas is slowly getting closer to hitting their stride?
Programming Note: Several junior day interviews due up today or tomorrow. Also we've got a quick turnaround for A&M and KC will kick off our preview coverage with his "Early Thoughts" preview.
As a team Kansas didn't shoot the ball well. The Cyclones doubled down immediately in the post which resulted in 27 three point attempts, only seven of which were converted. Another bi product of that strategy being so effective for the Cyclones was a lack of trips to the free throw line for Kansas. Again, they weren't "bad" shots and the Kansas bigs still stayed involved enough to make an impact, but it's hard to imagine this being a great combination for a tournament run.
Hands down one of the biggest problems of the day rests in the number of trips to the line. Unlike the Colorado game Kansas was hitting the free throws at a more than acceptable clip, but with the bigs passing out of the double team nearly every time the ball hit the post, there weren't a lot of fouls underneath. Now early on Kansas was getting easy shots when the 2nd big or one of the guards would cut to the basket, that needs to be the norm if they face a team prepared to play this same sort of defense in the future.
The individual statistics is probably the area that provides more optimism than anything in this one. Xavier Henry, for the second game in a row, was very productive. The "hitch" he seemed to have in his shot disappeared at times, he was aggressive in attacking the basket and he is starting to look once again like the freshman that made such an impact early in the season.
Marcus Morris continues his run of last, and while it was one of his less impressive performances in conference play he still contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds. The biggest difference for him on the night was just not quite getting the shot to fall, shooting only 36%, well of his blistering pace for conference play.
Sherron and Cole were involved as always but it's also a welcome sign when the Jayhawks can find contributions from other areas and that seems more and more the norm of late.