The Kansas Jayhawks lost by three points to the Colorado Buffaloes on a last second bomb by Askia Booker Saturday afternoon in Boulder. The Buffalo guard also nailed a three-pointer in the final few seconds of the first half to give Colorado a 3-point lead at the intermission.
The Jayhawks played from behind for most of the second half but tied it up with 4 seconds to go in the game. After Wayne Seldon, Jr. knocked the ball out of bounds, Colorado got the ball in to Booker, who raced up court, then launched a running jumper from about 25 feet. It pretty much hit nothing but net.
In Bill Self’s career, he had been 19-0 in his career against the Colorado Buffaloes, and Kansas had won 19 of their last 20 match up with the Buffaloes.
This game was a microcosm for what has been wrong with the Jayhawks over the past four games. They struggled to stop Colorado on defense, they can not shot threes (5-20), they are not dominating the backboards (they allowed 15 offensive rebounds), and they can’t keep from fouling (26).
Andrew Wiggins had one of his better games, leading the team in scoring with 22, and he pitched in with 5 rebounds. Frank Mason, inserted as a starter, scored 11, and Joel Embiid added 10, although none in the second, before he fouled out.
Senior transfer Tarik Black continues to be unable to establish any kind of positive presence for the Jayhawks. He played a whole three minutes, and the only stats he accumulated were three fouls. Kansas needs him to be available on the boards but he has not been able to stay on the floor because of constant foul trouble.
Colorado spent most of the game packed in the lane, daring the Jayhawks to shoot from three-point range. It seemed to sag in even tighter in the second half after they had little success stopping Embiid inside in the first half. Kansas did not respond well.
The Jayhawks have three players on their team that are supposedly renown for their long range sharp shooting process. Andrew White III, Brannen Greene, and Conner Frankamp combined to go 0-5 from three point range. These guys are role players for the Jayhawks, and their roles are to hit some long jumpers, and loosen up the defense in the lane. If they can’t hit three-pointers, there is little reason for them to be on the floor.
Self seems unable to get his young team to buy into his defensive philosophy. He also cannot seem to get them to understand what he is trying to accomplish in the half court offense. This team, despite all the raw, athletic talent available, appears to be in real trouble.
While the Buffaloes are a good team, picked to finish third in the Pac-12, they are not a great team. If the Jayhawks want to be considered a contender for the national championship, they have to beat teams like Villanova and Colorado.
Self has little time to get the light turned on for his youngsters. They travel to Florida for a Tuesday night game. The Gators are a much better team than any Kansas has played since Duke.
Florida is ranked in the top 15 in all major polls. If Kansas continues to struggle defensively, on the boards, and with shooting threes, the Jayhawks are going to be in big trouble, and may even be in danger in dropping out of the top 25 if they lose to the Gators.