“They are who we thought they were.” This quote, infamously used in a postgame presser by then Arizona Cardinal’s coach Dennis Green seems to apply perfectly to this year’s Kansas Jayhawks squad, who have now fallen to a dismal 2-7 on the road after a 92-61 dismantling at the hands of Texas Tech. Gone are the days where veteran leadership would step up late in crucial games like last night. Gone are the Perry Ellis’, Frank Masons, and Devonte Grahams who could seemingly will the Jayhawks to tough road wins in the Big Twelve. This Kansas team is definitely different than most years and that’s okay.
To put this season in perspective, the Jayhawks are not the team we thought they would be, and it’s not all their fault. Losing arguably the most efficient big man in college basketball in Udoka Azubuike to injury, losing Silvio DeSousa due to the NCAA’s utterly ridiculous suspension (damn you TJ Gassnola), and losing the sole senior in LaGerald Vick to a family situation has completely changed the dynamic of what was supposed to be Bill Self’s “best team ever”. Then you add into the mix the struggles of the highly touted five star recruit Quentin Grimes as well as Charlie Moore, and you’ve got yourself the current Kansas Jayhawks: brilliant at times, and so bad at others that they’ll leave you wondering if it’s the same team you watched just a few nights ago.
This season has had its highs and lows, and it’s certainly not over yet. But I do think it’s time to accept what this team is. Let’s face it, it’s almost March and this is the 2018-2019 Kansas Jayhawks team. They’re young and talented, but lacking that killer instinct that made so many of the previous Bill Self teams great. They’ve run out of mulligans in the conference championship race, and fifteen straight would be all but dead with another Kansas loss. If the streak does come to an end this year, there have been plenty of moments to point towards where you could say “that was the back breaker”. Whether it was the final minute collapse in Morgantown, losing to an inferior Texas team, or the second half collapse in Manhattan there have been plenty of moments we could all point to. But let’s hold off on that for a couple weeks. They’re not done yet.
This year’s struggles for Kansas have also served as a reminder to how spoiled we all have been as fans during the Bill Self era. This team has been called “his worst team”, and quite frankly if this is as bad as it gets we’ve got it quite good. The Jayhawks are a top 25 team, in contention for another conference title, and are at the VERY WORST are going to be a five seed in the NCAA tournament. No, they’re not the 2008 National Championship team, but most fanbases would kill to have this team and season for a “bad year”. It’s time to accept this team for who they are, and enjoy what’s left of the ride.