Reporters wanted the scoop on the KU coach’s disappointment about KU’s lack of toughness in the second half of its 72-69 loss at Texas Monday night. The Longhorns dominated the Jayhawks on the boards the last 20 minutes (23-12) after KU easily won the board battle the first half (23-13).
“We didn’t compete hard on the glass in the second
half after rebounding the ball about as well as we have all year in the
first half,” Self said.
“A coach should be evaluated from how we evaluate each other,
how hard they play, how unselfish they are and how tough do they
play,” Self added. “I think this team has graded
out this season very, very high in those areas. The second half, the
way we rebounded the ball, showed a lack of toughness. For whatever
reason...we didn’t make tough plays. ... We just
didn’t play with the same sense of urgency that Texas played
However, Self isn’t alarmed just because of one loss or one
“This has been made way too big a deal. Who on our team is
not tough?” Self said in response to a reporter’s
question about the toughest KU player. “That should be the
question, because everybody on our team is tough. We didn’t
play tough one night. We should be able to say what we didn’t
do well one night. We did not play tough on the glass one night. That
does not mean we have soft guys. That means that one night, we
didn’t play tough on the glass. But you can not tell me over
time, that we don’t have tough guys, as tough as
KU (23-2, 8-2) will certainly need to be mentally and physically tough
against Colorado (10-13, 2-7), despite the Buffaloes winning just two
of their last 10 games. However, Colorado is coming off a 72-58 home
victory against Oklahoma last Saturday. The Buffaloes also almost
pulled out a road victory versus Oklahoma State on Feb. 6, losing a
Tipoff this Saturday is at 12:45 (CST).
Colorado is led by senior star guard Richard Roby, who led all scorers
with 22 points in the Buffaloes’ 72-59 loss to KU at Boulder
on Feb. 2. Roby is averaging 17.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
Senior guard Marcus Hall ranks second on the team in scoring at 12.9
points per game, followed by sophomore guard Xavier Silas (9.9 ppg) and
freshman guard Cory Higgins (8.4 ppg). Senior forward Marcus King-Stockton also gives CU a boost with his team-high 26 blocked shots.
Colorado has only played those two games against Oklahoma State and
Oklahoma since its last game with Kansas.
“I really feel that Colorado, when you look at their scores,
they’ve played better at home, but they’re one of
the teams that’s gotten a lot better on the road,”
Self said. “They lost to Texas by a basket (69-67 on Jan.
19), they lose at OSU by one, they’ve made gradual
improvement the whole time. Even though we won the game by 13 over
there, I don’t think our players will think that was easy
because they made us play the entire 40 minutes.”
Indeed, they did. The score was actually tied at 30-all at halftime.
The Jayhawks hope to jump on the Buffaloes on their home court in the
110th-year celebration of Kansas basketball. About 230 former players,
managers and staff will attend the game. Hall of Famer and former KU
coach Larry Brown watched practice on Thursday and will be at practice
KU senior guard Russell Robinson is excited to have the current
Philadelphia 76ers executive vice president on hand. Some former KU
players were also expected to watch practice on Friday, as they come
into Lawrence for reunion weekend.
“It’s (practice) going to be a lot more intense
than it ever has been,” Robinson said. “At the same
time, you just got to be able to take it all in and be able to
With just three more games in February and six left in the regular
season, Self knows it’s time to roll.
“My goal has always been for our teams to start getting
better in February and hopefully peaking in late February, early
March,” Self said.
Eleven other Big 12 teams are also hoping to take their games up a
notch this month. With two league losses, KU is currently tied with
Kansas State and Texas for first place in the Big 12.
“This league is good, and winning on the road in this league
is a bear,” Self said. “We got six games left,
anything can happen. If you’re going to make a strong push to
win the league, now would be the time that you really start playing
your best ball.”
Robinson agrees. He expects the Jayhawks to compete hard against
“We got to be tough,” he said. “I think
we’re a tough team overall, (but) we got to turn it up
another notch. We haven’t been able to do that in our two
losses (KU lost at K-State, 84-75, on Jan. 30). That’s
something we got to work on and continue to do the rest of the
Is Kansas Tough?
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