This Kansas basketball weakness during conference play will give Bill Self nightmares

You might think depth is the biggest weakness for the Kansas basketball team, and considering recent injuries, you'd be right, but another weakness might be keeping Bill Self up at night.
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages

Depth for this Kansas basketball team has been an issue since the season started, and it's only gotten worse with the injuries to Kevin McCullar Jr. and Hunter Dickinson. It will be surprising if either one plays this week in the Big 12 Tournament.

Outside of the depth issue, however, there is one area in which this Kansas team has struggled incredibly with during Big 12 Conference play, and that is three-point shooting and defending the three-point line.


In their 13 nonconference games, the Jayhawks were 88 out of 238 from three (37%), but since conference play started, they're just 89 for 289 (31%). They rank 11th in the conference in percentage, and dead last, by a decent margin, in made shots behind the arc.

In fact, they only average 4.9 made threes a game, less than half of the total made a game by BYU. UCF, who ranked 13th in made three's, averaged 5.9 a game.

To make matters worse, KU ranks 11th in defending the three, as opponents make 35.5% of their attempts. Only West Virginia has given up more made shots from behind the arc.

In today's game, being a bad three-point shooting team and being a terrible team at defending the same shot is a bad recipe. For team to be consistently successful, it needs to be consistently good with on or the other, or better yet, with both.

Last season, the Jayhawks ranked fifth in both categories, and their record was obviously much better.

Kansas has been efficient with their two-point attempts. They shoot 55.6% from inside the arc, which is second in the Big 12, and they hold opponents to 47.1%, good for fourth in the conference.

The Jayhawks have been able to cover for their bad long-range shooting with a lot of made two-point attempts, but when they are behind, the lack of success from deep prevents them from being able to close gaps quickly enough.

For a defensive coach like Self, the inability to stop the three is probably the bigger issue. The Jayhawks are often slow to close out on shooters, leaving their opponents several open looks every game. Some of this could be caused by fatigue due to the starters playing a lot of minutes, or it could be this team just isn't as good as previous incarnations at defending those threes. It is probably a lot of both.

At this point in the season, there is probably little Self can do to correct either the offensive or defensive sides of this issue. This team is what it is, and with the injuries, it might get even worse in the upcoming two weeks if McCullar and Dickinson can't play.

It wouldn't be surprising if Self doesn't fix both of these issues when he puts together his roster for next season. His team will be deeper, more athletic, and surely, better at shooting and defending the three.