Kansas fans might have been spoiled with the outside shooting they saw from their team last season, but the struggles this season have more than made up for it. Saturday’s Big 12 tournament final was one of the most frustrating shooting performances we have seen from the Jayhawks. The result was a 78-66 loss to Iowa State.
Kansas took 18 three-point shots and made just three of them for a miserable 16.7%. Quentin Grimes, who was terrific in Friday’s semifinal against West Virginia, was 0-for-6 from behind the arc on Saturday. This isn’t a knock on Grimes. Grimes, along with most of the freshman Jayhawks who will return next season, should improve dramatically for their sophomore seasons. It’s just a reminder of how frustrating this season has been for the team. A decent shooting day from behind the arc would have seen the Jayhawks hit two or three more shots. Let’s be conservative and say they get an additional six points if they had made just two more.
Unfortunately for the Jayhawks it wasn’t just three-point shooting where they struggled. They also shot just 53.8% from the free throw line on 7-for-13 shooting. A good shooting day from the line would have given them just two additional points but every point is huge for this team. They don’t have the room for error that last season’s team had or most previous Kansas teams for that matter.
Although Kansas shot so poorly on Saturday, they only lost by 12. We have already seen how decent shooting would have made up for eight of those points. That would have given Kansas a four point deficit instead of 12. At that number anything could have happened. Pressure might have been enough of a factor to swing the game in Kansas’ favor.
Although the shooting was bad from the Jayhawks, the team did play hard. They brought energy to try to make things happen. Bill Self wasn’t disappointed in how his team played.
Iowa State controlled it basically from the jump, but I thought our guys played their butts off. That’s about as hard as we played in a long time and competed hard and we just didn’t have much to show for it, couldn’t buy a basket.Bill Self
Regardless of what would have happened with better shooting, the fact is that bad shooting days happen. Unfortunately, they seem to happen too much to this season’s Kansas team.
All that’s left is the NCAA tournament. Don’t expect the shooting to improve for that. This is what we will see in the NCAA tournament. They will need a good inside matchup to be able to pound the ball in to David McCormack and Dedric Lawson. If they settle for outside shots that’s probably a sign that the end of the season is near.