Maybe it was the poor three point shooting. Maybe it was the unfriendly whistle. Maybe it was another Bill Self “silver lining” post game press conference that got me thinking. Regardless, last night’s disappointing Big 12 championship game loss at the hands of Iowa State felt all too familiar.
After completely blitzing West Virginia on Friday by a score of 88-74, the Jayhawks once again seemed to be trending in the right direction at the perfect time. The Quentin Grimes that we saw against Michigan State was back, at least momentarily as he led the way with 18 points, 8 rebounds and added four assists. The team was firing on all cylinders on Friday and was setting up for a great showdown against Iowa State in the championship Saturday with an opportunity to potentially steal a three seed in the NCAA tournament.
And then…dumpster fire. Kansas put together arguably their worst offensive performance on the year falling short by a score of 78-66 in the Big 12 Championship game. The effort was there, but the shots simply weren’t falling and everything seemed to go wrong at the perfect time for Kansas.
There were so many moments in the game yesterday that reminded me of almost every season ending loss in the Bill Self era, and I’ve compiled a short and simple list of what happened last night and seemingly every year when Kansas gets bounced in the tournament.
- Miserable three point shooting
- Opposing teams make back breaking Hail Mary threes late in the shot clock
- A generally below average three point shooter transforms into Steph Curry
- Kansas gets into foul trouble early, forcing Bill Self to pull an impact player out in the first half creating a large halftime deficit
Maybe the Jayhawks got their flat tire performance out of the way in the Big 12 Tournament instead of the NCAA tournament, who knows. Everything seemed to go wrong against Iowa State, and those games happen to every team. After all, it’s March and this is what makes the NCAA tournament fun. This is a very young team that’s faced a lot of adversity throughout the season and they’ve shown the capability to be world beaters at times, and the Topeka YMCA teams of the early 1900’s at others. I wouldn’t put it past this team to surprise some teams and make a run in the tournament. Regardless, there’s one looming question heading into March Madness: which Kansas will show up in the NCAA tournament? Hopefully not the one on Saturday night.