Kansas Jayhawks: Trust Bill Self When it Comes To Cliff Alexander


Cliff Alexander should be playing more.

It’s pretty obvious the Kansas Jayhawks are a better team with Alexander on the court instead of Jamari Traylor.

The Topeka Capital-Journal’s Jesse Newell broke down the numbers, and it’s not even that close.

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What you will see is Alexander is more efficient in nearly every statistical category, but Traylor does win in the hustle department, and that seems to be carrying more weight in head coach Bill Self’s book.

Newell broke down the pair in nearly every game this season, but just take a look at Saturday’s 67-62 loss to Oklahoma St., and the differences were glaring — in Alexander’s favor.

In Taylor’s 23 minutes he had eight points, six rebounds, and six turnovers, while connecting on 3-of-7 shots.

Alexander played just 16 minutes, racked up the same amount of points, while collecting four rebounds, committing just one turnover, and making 4-of-5 shots.

He played only four minutes in the second half. He did appear to miss an assignment that led to a Cowboy alley oop, and Self yanked him after just two minutes.

Traylor wasn’t flawless by any means however, as evident by his six turnovers and three fouls.

Jayhawk fans on Twitter have had enough.

As crazy as this sounds, we need to trust Self, even though right now he seems like the only person on the planet who doesn’t see what Alexander brings to the table.

Which means there must be something else.

Self, a sure-fire Hall of Famer, 10-straight-Big 12-Conference-winning, National Championship coach, isn’t just going to do something so blatantly wrong if he didn’t have a reason.

We know he has already talked about Alexander not giving 100 percent off and on the court as a reason his minutes have been down, but don’t forget Traylor was suspended for one game earlier in the season for conduct detrimental to the team.

However, that one-game suspension seemed to be enough for Self, who has not held that against Traylor like he seems to do when Alexander makes a mistake.

The announcers in Saturday’s game said Alexander “dunked the ball a lot in high school.” There was good reason for that, as he was a man among boys.

In college he is going to meet his match more often, but he’s also shown he can be a beast at this level as well.

While I agree this Alexander/Traylor situation is a bit puzzling (and Self is making me look bad in predicting Alexander would average a double-double the second half of the season), I’ve also known to trust a man who has won more than 82 percent of his games as the head coach of the Jayhawks.

We questioned how he used Kelly Oubre, Jr., at the beginning of the year, then nodded in approval when we realized the way he brought along the other talented freshman was exactly the right move.

If Self is doing this in early March, it might be time to consider the fact maybe he has some grudge against Big Cliff.

For now though, just swallow the latest loss with some pride and move on. Realize too, Alexander’s limited minutes are not why the Jayhawks lost.

The fact they missed 10-of-20 free throws, had 18 total turnovers, and played in a building that doesn’t just give opponents victories, also had something to do with it.

The Jayhawks are 8-2 in the Big 12, in first place, and more than likely going to win conference title number 11 in a row.

I’ll go ahead and trust the man who is most responsible for that feat.

Next: Kansas Jayhawks: Five Bold Predictions

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