Typically, any discussion of the history of Kansas basketball is laced with superlatives. Recent events, however, have brought back all kinds of bad memories for the blue-blood program that usually lives in rarified air.
Wednesday’s loss to TCU was quite possibly the worst upset in KU’s history, but it was also notable as the first time KU had lost back-to-back games since 2006. Today’s 72-66 loss at Oklahoma takes them back to 2005, when they dropped consecutive games to Texas Tech, Iowa State and, yep, Oklahoma in February play.
Bill Self reached even farther back into the mists of time to describe his current team’s surprising streak of futility, saying that this team was the worst KU had put on the floor since James Naismith “lost to the YMCA.” Naismith did, in fact, lose to the Muscatine, Iowa YMCA in 1902 on his way to a 5-7 record, and Self’s hyperbole was clearly meant to sting his slumping team into action.
It didn’t work. The aura of invincibility the KU program has lorded over the Big 12 for nearly a decade has cracked, fractured, and fallen completely away during this bad stretch.
The Jayhawks are in free-fall, but still considered a guaranteed tourney team. Aside from the road win at Ohio State in December, and a close win at K-State, the Kansas schedule is rather light on marquee wins, however. Should the Wildcats win at Allen Fieldhouse on Big Monday, Kansas will not only give their closest geographical rival a leg up on the league title, they’ll put their NCAA tournament seeding in serious jeopardy.
The Kansas offense is struggling due to point play, rather obviously. The offense is stagnant, and there’s nobody else to look to behind senior Elijah Johnson (10 points, 4 assists, 3 turnovers today) and sophomore Naadir Tharpe (7 points, 2 assists, 1 turnover).
What Bill Self wouldn’t give right now for a steady, unspectacular ballhandler. A Russ Robinson, if you will. A Brady Morningstar. Instead, he’s left with a scattered Elijah Johnson and Naadir-in-the-headlights.
What happens if the Jayhawks lose four? Why, national title, obviously.
Last time KU lost four in a row in a non-probation season was 1987-88. #kubball
— Rock Chalk Blog (@RockChalkBlog) February 9, 2013
Where have you gone, Danny Manning?
Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.