Last night Kansas was up 21 points to a bottom tier Big 12 opponent and then the Jayhawks let them crawl back into a game that they never had any business being in. Needless to say Bill Self is not a happy camper.
"To put them in a position to be able to win the game is beyond belief because we were just making basketball plays experienced guys should never make,"
Honestly these pretty much echo exactly what I was thinking when this game hit four points. First there was the late lead lost to Missouri, then this team escaped a late rally in Manhattan which the Wildcats realistically could have made much closer had they executed. Now this game in College Station and it's starting to feel like a pattern.
Down the stretch we look a bit complacent with a lead, conservative to a fault and at this point our seven foot center appears to be our only clutch player down the stretch. Last night we saw the turnovers, unforced errors and missed free throws that hurt us in those other two games flare up once again. I like this team as much as anyone in the country when they are one, but they also have the makings of a team that could leave us with a bitter taste come March.
So what is the issue? Is it leadership? Approach to the gameplan late? Nerves? Or is it just an unfortunate set of circumstance that has led to three games like this in the last three weeks? I would think the reasons probably vary and obviously we have to keep it in perspective and realize that we are 2-1 in those situations and leading the Big 12. As for last night, Bill Self makes it pretty clear what he thinks led to the near meltdown.
"We were making basketball plays experienced guys should never make. When you make plays you know nobody wants you to make and it doesn't bother you, that's a bad sign for a basketball team. It didn't seem it bothered us much tonight. Bad shots shouldn't lead to bad attitudes,"
At the end of this one Bill Self seemed justifiably peeved and I can't say that I don't share that sentiment. I was probably more discouraged after winning this game than I should be, and I'm sure I'll take some flak for overreacting, but seeing it for a third time made me wonder how much we want the no. 1 seed target on our back. I want the Big 12 title bad, and it probably gets us close to a top seed, but then this team better realize that failing to put a team away can and will bite you in March.