Kansas Basketball: What's Gone Wrong for Jayhawks During 2-Game Skid?
Bill Self made headlines while criticizing last year's team following a baffling loss to the mighty Horned Frogs, but the 11th-year head coach believes his 2013-14 squad might have outdone the now-infamous team that lost to TCU.
"We thought we played poorly against TCU in the first half last year. That was worse tonight no question," Self said following KU's 67-61 turnover-filled loss to Florida on Tuesday, according to KUSports.com's Gary Bedore.
The loss set the suddenly offensively-challenged Jayhawks into a rare losing streak following Saturday's buzzer-beating loss to Colorado. A series of ugly numbers produced during the two-game road trip left much to be desired before conference play begins next month.
What happened in those two losses that KU fans should be concerned about?
Ball Movement Inside the Arc
Following a dreadful 11 assist, 24 turnover performance against Florida, Kansas boasts a 1.06 assist-to-turnover ratio (156th in nation).
While the Gators hounded the Kansas guards all evening, pressuring the Jayhawks into uncomfortable spaces, KU began and ended most possessions with horrendous ball movement. With the importance of fluid ball movement in Bill Self's offense, a 1.3-1.4 assist-to-turnover ratio would be more indicative of efficient ball movement.
"We've got to get everyone playing together", Self said after Tuesday's loss in Gainesville, according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com).
Rarely did Kansas even attempt to move the ball within the arc, instead settling for awkward double teams or 23-foot jumpers early in the shot clock.
High Percentage Shots
Kansas attempted 39 combined three-point field goals in losses to Colorado and Florida. While that is not a horrifying number, it is an unnecessary number.
Oftentimes it appears as if Frank Mason, Naadir Tharpe and the other perimeter ball-handlers do not trust Joel Embiid and Perry Ellis, two players shooting 64 and 60 percent respectively.
"They went 1-3-1 zone, and we practice attacking it and attacking it, and have no problem in practice," Self said regarding their lack of lane penetration on Tuesday against Florida, according to The Kansas City Star's Rustin Dodd.
Despite a barrage of converted deep three-point buckets from Andrew Wiggins late in Tuesday's loss, the Jayhawks are still shooting only 31 percent from long range.
Kansas politely offered the Buffaloes the bonus only four minutes into Saturday's game and would have been blown out had Tad Boyle's bunch hit more than 59 percent of their free throws.
Senior transfer Tarik Black contributed to the foul debacle in Boulder, committing three fouls in only three minutes. He then provided an encore performance at Florida with three more fouls in six minutes.
Other Jayhawks have committed lazy out-of-position fouls, many of which have destroyed runs or allowed the opponent to convert transition opportunities into three-point plays.
KU has committed 51 total fouls in their last two losses, but luckily has kept it close as a result of 59 percent free throw shooting from both opponents.
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