The loss was the worse Kansas has suffered in the past seven years. In addition, it was even more tough to swallow since the Jayhawks now have to share the Big 12 regular season title with their rivals the Kansas State Wildcats.
Despite the lopsided, 81-58 loss, the Jayhawks are still the favorite to win the Big 12 Tournament and are a legitimate contender for the NCAA National Championship.
Kansas Head Coach Bill Self is now in charge of figuring out the right buttons to push to regain his team’s confidence.
Luckily for Self he has an experienced starting unit and the seniors know that this is just one loss. Although it hurts they did win the program’s ninth straight Big 12 regular season title and even though they have to share it with the Wildcats, the Jayhawks swept them in the regular season series. There will be no panic with his seniors, they know how good they can be.
More importantly Self knows that there were some positives in the loss.
First, freshman Perry Ellis had sort of a coming out party. Ellis, who has struggled finishing at the rim the entire season and has not been as aggressive as Self would like, had 12 points on 5 for 7 shooting from the field. Ellis kept numerous plays alive and he was also was instrumental in the Jayhawks cutting the Baylor lead to six with just over six minutes left.
Another bright spot was that freshman star, Ben McLemore, was aggressive in the game. McLemore not only scored 23 points, shooting 50% from the floor (8-16), but he was searching for his shot on multiple occasions, something that he has shied away from at times during the year. McLemore’s aggressiveness is something that could win a game for the Jayhawks in March.
Self knows that his freshmen will have to play a huge part in any late season run the Jayhawks plan to make this season and this game will no doubt bolster Ellis’ and McLemore’s confidence the rest of the way.
Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo