For What it's Worth: KC calling for the 'Hawks and 'Cats

Published On: Mar 14 2014 05:33:09 AM CDT
Bruce Haertl: For What It's Worth...

As if we needed further evidence of Kansas’ domination of the Big 12---consider that Oklahoma State was trying to become the first team in ten years today to beat the Jayhawks twice in the same season.

Quite a series---

Kansas wins the season series against Oklahoma State by two points at home and overtime yesterday at the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City. The Jayhawks have had a disaster with ball control against the Cowboys turning it over 55 times in three games. KU was relatively comfortable up by eight points inside of 7:00 left in the game when the bottom nearly dropped out.

Oklahoma State scored seven points in 0:13 seconds to cut it to one point, two ridiculous turnovers lead to the rally, which, eventually, forced Kansas to rally to win. Oklahoma State has furnished a pretty decent blueprint for success against KU, but you’ve got to have the right kind of athletes to pressure the ‘Hawks. Even with those types of players, remember, OSU still lost two of three to KU.

Coming into his own---

Not only does Andrew Wiggins have 71 points in his last two games, head coach Bill Self also describes him as his best defender. Self charged Wiggins with being more aggressive after his 41 last weekend in the loss at West Virginia. No, he wasn’t splitting hairs on his scoring performance; he just wanted him to get after it earlier in the game--before they were digging out from a 22-point hole. It’s a difficult balance to strike---being the ‘go-to guy’ at the same time you’re trying to be a good teammate. Wiggins has shown himself to be exactly that, often times passing up shots that Self would like him to take.

Having said that, they could just as easily been oh and two in their last two games as they are 1-1. Without Joel Embiid, Self probably doesn’t want to get too one dimensional with his scoring. It’ll be interesting to see how Wiggins’ role evolves as the Jayhawks fly further into March.

Cy is next---

KU beat Iowa State twice during the regular season, but Self calls the Cyclones the most talented team in the Big 12. It’s fun to watch Fred Hoiberg’s offense create opportunities, K-State couldn’t keep them under 90 today.

Odds and ends---

KU is 17-1 all-time in their opening game of the Big 12 tourney. With foul trouble in the second half, Self used a four guard offense with mixed reviews. Joel Embiid will not play in the Big 12 Tourney, but yesterday his father was quoted as saying he expected his son to return ‘sometime during the NCAA Tournament’.

Bad timing?

Kansas State is suddenly in the midst of their longest skid of the season. OK, so it’s only three games, but there is at least one very disturbing trend: the ‘Cats can’t stop anybody. In their last four games they’re giving up an average of 79 points, a full 14 points more than they’d allowed per game up until the last two weeks. The flip side though is that they’ve looked pretty good with the ball against Iowa State; in fact, their 85 points was their most in over three months and they shot better than 54 percent to do it—both positives.

Shane Southwell, who’d played well throughout the game, made a bad decision on a late fast break in a one point game and after turning it over the ‘Cats never recovered. Despite foul trouble Marcus Foster was great with 21 points. He admitted earlier this week that he’s a little worn down; he certainly didn’t look it against Iowa State.

An optimist would say that an early departure from Kansas City would give this group a little time to collect itself, remember head coach Bruce Weber is getting big contributions from four freshmen. They’ll all get a little wind in their sails come Sunday’s Selection Show, although one wonders whether their late slide might cost them a spot or two on the seed line.