After coming close to suffering a home loss to Eastern Illinois last night, there is some concern in the Kansas basketball fanbase.
The Kansas basketball team led by one point with 5:04 to play in last night’s scary win vs. Eastern Illinois. It was arguably the ugliest showing by the Jayhawks in a season that they haven’t looked very good in any game yet.
The Panthers were projected to finish last in the Ohio Valley Conference in the preseason coaches poll and lost games to Illinois, Illinois State, Loyola Chicago, and Miami, Ohio, so far this season. Not only that, but they hadn’t even been at their best — they committed 16 turnovers to KU’s 10 and shot 39% from the field.
It was an inexplicably poor outing by the ‘Hawks last night. They were outhustled and outmuscled in every way by a team of players that wouldn’t make a roster at the Power 5 level. And even though you never had the feeling they’d steal the game away from KU, you can’t help but wonder what the outcome would have been if they weren’t competing against a bottom-tier school.
Fans can chalk up the sloppy performance to a Maui hangover. But no matter how you spin it, they’ve looked like this all season.
So, the question arises: Should Kansas basketball fans panic?
Some people might believe it’s too early in the season to be worrying about the team. Maybe we should give the team until conference play to truly gel together. But will that solve the poor 3-point shooting or the fact that only two players are contributing anything to the team offensively? Probably not.
Coach Bill Self has mentioned the possibility of a midseason addition before the nonconference slate finishes. Right now, the Jayhawks need someone else badly. Towson transfer Nick Timberlake has been a nonfactor and continues to struggle on both ends of the ball, and while 5-star freshman Elmarko Jackson has time to bud into a star, he needs to start performing soon if he wants to live up to his one-and-done potential.
Dajuan Harris and KJ Adams have given plenty to this program, but those two alone cannot dig KU out of this hole. They aren’t offensive threats, and we’ve seen some major regression from Harris so far.
One can only imagine what the team might have looked like if Arterio Morris had not thrown his career anyway. The basketball this team is playing right now is far less cohesive than what we saw in Puerto Rico this past August. Considering Coach Self and the Jayhawks went most of the offseason expecting Morris to play and Timberlake to contribute, it was far too late to add another guard.
While the sky isn’t falling just yet, Kansas has got to pick up their play in a hurry. Their defensive rotations have been terrible and they are messy in every game. We’ll see what adjustments Coach Self makes against No. 4 UConn on Friday.