Bullseye, Jayhawks Toss Dartmouth

In a game like Tuesday evening's throttling of an undermanned and cold shooting Dartmouth squad, there are a couple of priorities. Take care of business, don't get anybody hurt and be sure not to say anything too bad about your opponents during the post game interviews. If that's the case, Jayhawk players, coaches and fans alike should consider Tuesday night's effort a pretty resounding success.

Shortly after Kansas’ 83-32 dismantling of a vastly overmatched Dartmouth squad, junior Darnell Jackson was asked what the team got out of the game. Without having to put much thought into it, the six-foot-eight junior who produced a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds came up with a simple answer.

“Conditioning,” mused Jackson.

While Jackson would go on to talk about how the game gave the Jayhawks -- currently ranked number five in the Associated Press top 25 -- a chance to work on some new sets and focus on defensive intensity, the fact of the matter is that he was correct.

Coming off a physically and emotionally straining victory over a defending national champion Florida squad, nobody could have expected too much of Bill Self’s crew. However, from the time freshman Darrell Arthur slammed home two of his 13 points to open the game on a lob 10 seconds into the game to the time fellow freshman Brady Morningstar finished things off by converting on a lob of his own with a minute and 10 seconds left, the Jayhawks did what was expected of them.

The Jayhawks boss man, Bill Self, was relatively pleased with the effort.

“It was a good win tonight, but they have three starters back home hurt,’ said Self of the wounded Dartmouth squad.  “They've had every bad thing that could possibly happen occur to them.  So we knew going into the game that they were really shorthanded but we did okay.”

In particular, Self’s players took control on the glass where they held an overwhelming edge. So overwhelming was KU’s edge, that the 23 offensive rebounds (of 52 total) that the Jayhawks racked up was equal to the total number of boards grabbed by Dartmouth.

While Self admitted that a large part of the rebounding edge was Dartmouth simply not shooting very well and his team holding a size advantage, he was still pleased with the work on the boards. But, he would like to see his team shoot a bit better in a game like Tuesday’s.

“We rebounded the ball particularly great and the only real concern for me is shooting the ball better behind the arc,” said Self. “We have to get better at that and shoot our free throws better.”

Although none of them would admit it, the Dartmouth game pretty much served as a glorified practice session. It gave the Jayhawks a good run, gave them a chance to get lots of players minutes and helped them heal up a little after a long week.

Up next for Self’s squad is a matchup with DePaul this Saturday in Chicago. Looking ahead, Self and his team know that they’ll be facing a different level of opponent and a probable NBA player in Wilson Chandler, even if the Blue Demons can be a bit of an unpredictable bunch.

“They are very talented and they have one great, NBA-type player in Wilson Chandler,” said Self of Saturday’s opponent. “It will be packed and an emotional arena.  They are good.  They are one of those teams that can look great or one of those teams that when they have not played well, does not look very good.”

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