March Madness: A tip behind Kansas basketball’s success? Jayhawks benefit value from losing

March 10, 2018 - Basketballs

KANSAS CITY — The state of puncture has eased in Kansas. The strain is protected for another year, and a Jayhawks are display signs of rolling. Not there yet, as Bill Self kept observant Friday night, though removing closer.

So let’s ask them what it’s like around their place when they remove a integrate of games.


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Kansas will play for a discussion contest championship Saturday, carrying run past Kansas State 83-67 for a seventh win in a final 8 games. The 14th consecutive joining deteriorate pretension is in a bag, a 13th consecutive 25-win year, expected a No. 1 seed in a NCAA tournament.

Is a manager happy? Well . . .

“If we nap dual hours tonight it’ll be some-more than what we substantially consider we should, after how we played tonight,” pronounced Self, who didn’t many like a appetite he saw opposite a Kansas State group personification though a dual tip scorers, both injured. Then again, a Jayhawks don’t have a substantial paint participation of Udoka Azubuike and his sprained knee.

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And even Self had to admit, “There’s a lot of things to like.”

So all is good in Lawrence.

Not so prolonged ago, it wasn’t.


Get a conduct start on a central NCAA Bracket Challenge Game.


On Feb. 10, a Jayhawks mislaid by 16 points during Baylor. They were 8-4 in a Big 12, trailing Texas Tech in a standings, their stately dynasty as joining champion in jeopardy. Most shocking, they had mislaid 3 times during home.

How was it around city after those home losses?

“Crazy,” Malik Newman pronounced in a locker room. “That’s not a good feeling a night of, or a day after.

“You go from everybody saying, `Hey Malik, how we doin’?’ to . . . “


Newman shrugged. That’s a approach it is.

“Once we start losing, and people start looking during we different, you’ve got to kind of reevaluate and consider about things. We review about it, though we didn’t panic about it, since we knew we weren’t personification a best basketball during a time.”

Big 12 actor of a year Devonte’ Graham: “There’s a lot of pressure, though that’s since we come here, to win and feel that pressure. It builds we as a chairman and it builds we as a basketball player.”

Self: “This group is easy to nitpick with, since when we’re good, it’s magnified in ways since we can fire and pierce a ball. When we’re bad, it’s magnified in ways since we don’t do a things in grind-it-out games that a lot of teams do.



“So we consider it’s satisfactory to contend that this group leaves we wanting some-more sometimes. But to win a joining by dual games — they’re substantially not observant that about Texas Tech or West Virginia. They’re substantially observant that was a good year. Sometimes we consider we get marred on what a expectations are.”

Something has clicked for a Jayhawks lately, and usually in time.

“I consider we found a new gear,” Mitch Lightfoot said.

Three defeats in Allen Fieldhouse in one deteriorate – Self had usually mislaid 10 in his prior 14 years – would clap a many stoic of Kansans. Even Dorothy and Toto would have been alarmed. Then there is a Big 12 streak, that is a truly conspicuous attainment though also something of a complicated bag to carry. Graham was 9 years aged when it started. Teammate Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk was six. Self was usually dual years private from coaching during Illinois. Did they wish to be on a group to see it end?

“People were really worried, about a streak, especially,” Graham said. “They speak about it so much, that’s all we consider about during a season. It’s a streak, a streak, a streak, a streak. When we finally win it, it’s like a whine of relief. And now manager tells us we can usually go out and play a best round since we don’t have to worry about a strain no more.”

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Some of a Jayhawks contend it was usually a matter of everybody finally shopping into what Self was selling. “An opinion of acceptance,” Lightfoot called it. Plus, any group that loses dual All-Americans from a prior deteriorate will need time to adapt. Even Kansas, and it‘s circuit belt of talent.

“You know what? we feel like each year we kind of struggle,” Graham said. “This competence be a group that took a longest, though each year we really have those struggles, perplexing to find everybody to get on one page. To come together right now would be a ideal time.”

Self still has his concerns. With Kansas State’s Makol Mawien — averaging 6 points a diversion — putting 29 inside points on a Jayhawks Friday night, it’s transparent they need Azubike back.

“This is a time of year everybody in America is personification with appetite and enthusiasm, and a games meant a lot. And we didn’t play like that tonight,” Self said. “It can be frustrating sometimes, since we play to a ability set rather than indeed removing after people.”

Unsteady power is not good in March. “We’ve got to scold that genuine soon,” Self said, “because that craziness is how we remove this time of year.”

But things positively feel a lot improved than a month ago. Newman is removing smiles and greetings once more. But he understands a contribution of life during Kansas.

 “We’ve got to take caring of business, or tomorrow we’ll be on a bad side again.”

Mike Lopresti is a member of a US Basketball Writers Hall of Fame, Ball State broadcasting Hall of Fame and Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame. He has lonesome college basketball for 43 years, including 38 Final Fours. He is so aged he lonesome Bob Knight when he had dim hair and basketball shorts were indeed short.
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