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Kansas Loses To Baylor, But Wins Ninth Straight Big 12 Title

The game ended up not meaning anything, but does it signal something for the rest of the season?

Jamie Squire

Perhaps it is just my memory playing tricks on me, but it does seem like every year Kansas has one of these games late in the season where they either get caught looking ahead to the NCAA tournament or for some reason decide they don't want to show up for a game.

Saturday was one such game, where Kansas failed to show up both on offense, scoring just .92 points per trip, and especially on defense, allowing 1.29 points per possession to a pretty mediocre Baylor offense. The Jayhawks still finished with the best defense in the league, but ended up fourth in offense, just barely above Oklahoma State in fifth.

The good news is that Kansas gagged in the Big 12 tournament last year and then went all the way to the title game, so there's no reason why they can't do it again. And study after study has shown that late season momentum matters not when trying to determine who is going to make the final four. But the troubling point is that I assume that unlike the Big 12 tournament, which doesn't really matter, the team wanted to win the Big 12 outright and simply gave it away. Unless Bill Self is playing the very long game and not wanting to show his hand adjustment wise, this was a very puzzling game. Of course, the one thing you can't coach is effort, and that simply wasn't there on Saturday.

  • The positives pretty much begin and end with Ben McLemore. He took 16 shots, 9 of them threes, and went 3-7 from two and 5-9 from three. Hopefully he stays that aggressive in the NCAA tournament, and two games in Kansas City where he has played before should help out with that.
  • Perry Ellis had maybe his best game as a Jayhawk, going 5-7 and grabbing three rebounds. He was also the only low post player really giving a lot of effort on offense, so that was nice.
  • Jeff Withey only took three shots for some reason (making all three of course), but grabbed 8 rebounds and added 4 blocks. This would be a good fanpost for someone (hint hint) but going through and seeing how KU's points per possession and Withey shot attempts correlate would probably be a worthwhile endeavor.
  • Elijah Johnson had 10 points on 3 of 13 shooting, had just 2 assists to 3 turnovers, and got killed defensively by Pierre Jackson all night. The last handful of games is a good example of how important Elijah is to the team, and maybe the biggest reason to be uneasy going forward.