Kansas basketball head coach Bill Self is an all-time great and arguably the best coach in the college game today, but he does some frustrating things sometimes. One aspect of his coaching philosophy is that he loves to play his starters a ton of minutes, no matter what.
On Tuesday, Kansas blew out Oklahoma State on the road. They led by at least 20 points most of the second half, yet all of his starters logged 30 minutes or more. The four main starters — Hunter Dickinson, Kevin McCullar Jr., K.J. Adams Jr., and Dajuan Harris Jr. - all played the same number of minutes they've averaged for the season.
This game provided the perfect opportunity to give the four-man bench of Elmarko Jackson, Johnny Furphy, Parker Braun, and Jamari McDowell a few more minutes each. They could have been rotated in a bit more, especially in the second half. With the game well in hand, the starters could have sat the last six or seven minutes and let the subs play it out.
In fact, Jamari McDowell, who for whatever reason, seems buried deep in Self's doghouse, only got to play three minutes late in the blowout. He is certainly a player that could have benefited from seeing some extended minutes.
Self also doesn't seem to play his walk-ons all that much, even when the opportunity presents itself like it did against the Cowboys. It would have been a great reward for those walk-ons who contribute so much during practices so have been able to play the last two or three minutes.
Other than Michael Jankovich, who did log two minutes and buried a three late, none of the other walk-ons saw the floor. Most of the Jayhawks' games are tight affairs, without much wiggle room, so it would have been nice to see those guys at the end of the bench get some action when the game wasn't close.
Self is a superstar coach who absolutely knows what he is doing and has his finger on the pulse of his team far better than anyone else, but it sure would have been nice to see the starters get a little extra rest, the bench to get a few more minutes, and the walk-ons to to even get to play.
It is doubtful many more opportunities will arise for those walk-ons to play as the Jayhawks run the gauntlet that is the Big 12.