ST. LOUIS -- The Kansas Jayhawks saw their season come to its conclusion on Sunday as they lost to the Stanford Cardinal by a score of 60-57. KU just couldn't get anything going offensively against Stanford's zone, missing several shots at the rim.
Andrew Wiggins struggled offensively with just 4 points on 1 of 6 shooting, in what surely will be his final game as a Jayhawk. The zone obviously seemed to be geared toward limiting his drives, but he still could have been a lot more aggressive. Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins after the game said, "He's a guy you are not going to guard with one player. I thought the rest of our team was always aware of where he was." Point guard Chasson Randle said, "We knew where he was on the floor at all times as a team. We tried to collapse on his penetration."
Wiggins seemed down on himself after the game. "If I would've done my part we would've won the game. I let the team down, the fans. I blame myself."
Obviously, this was an unfortunate end to Wiggins' tenure at Kansas, but he had an amazing season. We will do more reflecting on the year later here on the site, but I think you could make a pretty good case that Andrew Wiggins was the best freshman in the history of Kansas basketball. Certainly we will get to watch him a lot next year in the NBA.
Conner Frankamp had an impressive showing in consecutive games to conclude his freshman season. He hit two huge threes at the end of the first half. Despite that, and despite playing extremely well on Friday, Self only played him 7 minutes in the second half, mostly during desperation mode. Frankamp again hit two huge threes, giving KU a chance when the game was seemingly over. KU tried to run a play to get him a three at the end, but Stanford read it well, and it was off the mark. When I asked Bill Self why he went with less Frankamp in the second half, he said, "We had to get inside their defense and they're big. When you play Conner and play with another guard, that puts him guarding a 6'7" guy. And they exploited that a little bit. No reason, other than the fact that Frank (Mason), from a pace standpoint, gave us a better chance to get inside of the defense, which he did." I have a feeling that Frankamp will play a much more significant role on next year's team. If he can give consistent minutes as a three point threat while not turning the ball over, he will be immensely useful on next year's squad.
As for Mason, it did seem like he was playing pretty well, but he finished 0 for 4 with 2 points in 22 minutes. He did a pretty good job defensively when he was in the game on Chasson Randle, and he at times did seem like the only KU player that was wanting to drive against the zone.
Tarik Black had a great performance in the final game of his collegiate career. He was the only KU player that shot over 50% for the game, making 6 of his 8 shots, as well as 6 of his 8 free throws, finishing with 18 points and 6 rebounds before fouling out of the game in the second half. Tarik seemed to be the only Jayhawk finishing around the rim today, as the rest of the team missed several of what Self would classify as "bunnies."
When I asked Stanford forward Dwight Powell what they were trying to do around the rim, he said, "It was definitely one of our focuses to just be physical and have guys in the lane and be ready to help because they were quick on drives. And make sure we made the proper rotations." This bothered KU, as well as Stanford's length when they collapsed inside.
Kansas will have a lot to look forward to next season, but for now, they relive the heartbreak of March.
I'll have a lot more to say once I get back to Lawrence and have time to digest, but for now, I'll leave it at that.