Tuesday, January 2, 2018 will go down as the day that I officially began feeling like this year’s Kansas basketball team would be the one to end the streak. Not only did this team get beat by Texas Tech, they got dominated in one of the biggest areas that Bill Self teams have hung their hat on in the past. HEART. This team showed no heart, no pride, and no energy from the opening tip to the final buzzer.
There are a two specific stats that really stand out to me. The first being that Tech out rebounded Kansas 44-29, with 18 of those rebounds being on offense. The second thing is that Tech had 12 more shots than Kansas in this game, majority coming from those 18 offensive rebounds. Those two things combined are where you can look at the stat book and see that Kansas was absolutely dominated, but other than those things almost every other stat was fairly close.
So if almost every other stat was similar, why did it look like this game was a 30 point game instead of just a 12 point game? Because this team lacks the biggest thing needed to win games and the biggest thing that Bill Self teams have prided themselves on in his 15 years at Kansas. They lack heart or what Self calls the “dog mentality.” This team has no heart beat, they don’t have anyone to look to in order to get a big stop or a big REBOUND. Last year as our leader and heart beat, Frank Mason was 5′ 10″ on a good day and averaged over four rebounds per game. You know how many rebounds our leader, Devonte Graham, had in this game? ZERO. No, I don’t think that Graham was the only person responsible for this loss and I believe that he did more things good than bad in this one, but zero rebounds for the leader of this team is absolutely unacceptable.
I have heard time and time again that this is Devonte Graham’s team now and it’s time that he shows us that. I have heard that he is more of a vocal leader but now it’s time for him to be a leader with his actions on the floor. With that, he did change up his game in the middle of this one and started driving to the basket to get layups and possibly fouled, which I am hoping will be a turning point in his season, but until he can do that on a consistent basis and show his teammates what it takes to win basketball games I am afraid the Big 12 streak will be over.
I hope someone can step up and be the physical leader of this team and be prideful of the name they all wear across their chest. I hope that person is Devonte Graham but I am not real sure that it is in his DNA.
We have a tough matchup on Saturday at TCU and if this team can pull together to find that person that will be their “dog” and we find a way to win, it will be a huge victory. As of right now I don’t have a lot of confidence that this team, with the makeup that is currently on the court will win number 14. But if they can win on Saturday, then string together two more wins at home against Iowa State and Kansas State in order to go into Morgantown at 4-1 I think that I will feel a lot better, and judging by social media so will most of the Kansas faithful.