The KU doubters got plenty of ammunition today, as Kansas hosted 2-5 Harvard, and just barely hung on to pull off the 75-69 victory. Kansas, 23 point favorites, took advantage of Harvard's turnover issues and built a lead as big 16, but some hot shooting cut the lead to nine at halftime.
Kansas had similar issues Tuesday against Loyola, but unlike Tuesday's game, Kansas did not come out with a vengeance in the second half. Instead, the offense stagnated for long stretches (stop me if you've heard this one before), and Kansas struggled to control the boards, losing the rebounding battle 41-35.
As a result, Harvard slowly cut further into the lead, and eventually tied it with about five minutes to go. Wayne Selden, KU's leading scorer, was tied to the bench for much of it after picking up 4 fouls in surprisingly short order. Some strong play by Frank Mason gave Kansas an advantage over the last few minutes, and they were ultimately able to stifle Harvard's comeback attempt.
The reasons for the rough performance were very similar to what we saw throughout last year, and on multiple occasions this season. Despite shooting well from outside, Kansas shot less than a quarter of their shots from three, and shot less than 50% on their 45 two point attempts. Defensive rebounding and rim protection continue to be concerns as well. It's still early in the year, and we've yet to really see what Diallo, who spent much of the game on the bench, can do, but it's easy to foresee more frustration in the coming months as the same issues continue to follow this team around when points aren't coming easily.
At the end of the day, Kansas gets the win and may be the 2nd ranked team in the country come Monday.