Kansas’ Loss to Oklahoma State Was Several Weeks in the Making

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Freshman hotshot Perry Ellis can’t finish at the rim…three months after the problem was first diagnosed. The KU coaching staff had high hopes for the blue-chip prospect entering the season. Such effusing praise has been largely unjustified through January of Ellis’ rookie campaign.

Withey, while saintly as a post defender, hasn’t developed refined post moves of his own. The 7-footer remains one of the nation’s best pivots overall, but that’s not to say there isn’t room for marked improvement. Withey can certainly do better to establish himself as an offensive asset on the low block. Whether his point guard can get him the ball in the right spots provided he does improve is another issue entirely.

The bench looks halfway decent on paper, but that paper tiger becomes a real-life possum the moment the heralded reserves actually take the floor. An aggressor on the boards who provides additional beef inside, Jamari Traylor offers little in the way of scoring, which is KU’s biggest need. Tharpe and Ellis have flashed promise, but future upside doesn’t do the 2012-13 team any good. Self would be well-served giving Rio Adams an extended look against TCU, a game which should be over by halftime.

Kansas’ glorified defense is fantastic—the least of the team’s problems—though hardly impregnable. The Jayhawks allowed two different 25-point scorers in the same game on Saturday for the first time since January 2005, when another second-ranked Kansas team suffered a 21-point pasting by Villanova.

Worst of all, the very program with the best home record over the last five years finally looks fallible in college basketball’s most imposing venue. Temple, Iowa State and Oklahoma State have all proven within the last month that winning at Allen Fieldhouse isn’t insurmountable anymore. The Jayhawks are, in fact, mortal in their home white garb, and opponents are noticing. That psychological edge KU has long championed at home is no longer as profound. The playing surface is leveling, if only marginally.

Markel Brown and Marcus Smart caught the unwary nation’s attention over the weekend, guiding Oklahoma State to an ostensibly implausible win. Implausible, of course, unless you followed the bread crumbs the Jayhawks had dropped over the last four weeks, foreshadowing doom.

After a month of dallying with fire without consequence, it was only a matter of time that Kansas abruptly cooled off.

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Tags: Basketball Kansas Jayhawks

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