Kansas was out-classed from the opening tip against Auburn in their second round 89-75 loss. The fourteen point deficit at the end of the game is about the closest the Jayhawks were all day after the first few minutes.
Auburn applied pressure defense that a young Kansas team was not prepared to handle. On offense Auburn was non-stop movement and passing that got them just about any shot they wanted. Auburn was wanting three-point shots and they were on fire hitting them in the first half.
Well, obviously, we’re disappointed in how we played. But also how we played shouldn’t take away from how great Auburn played. They were fantastic. We hadn’t seen an onslaught like that all year, in the first ten minutes of the game. And they rattled us and we didn’t respond very well.Bill Self
Auburn led 51-25 at the half. Kansas came out in the second half and handled things much better. But by then Auburn appeared to be uninterested in finishing the game. The game was essentially over. Even then, when the Jayhawks made a run Auburn answered and stretched their lead out to about the 26 they had at the half.
He has got to make some decisions. He’s had as good a year as we could ever have hoped for. I don’t know that we’ve ever ridden a guy — maybe Thomas Robinson — but he’d be the only guy we would have ridden as hard as Dedric. And you wouldn’t have to if you had your full complement of guys obviously.Bill Self talking about Dedric Lawson
Quentin Grimes made nice cuts to the basket in the second half to go with some well-placed passes. Devon Dotson had his typical quality game. Grimes and Dotson settling down in the second half opened things up for Lawson.
Auburn shot 13-for-30 (43.3%) from behind the arc and 52.5% overall on 61 total shots. Kansas took 59 total shots but was just 6-for-19 (31.6%) from behind the arc and 45.8% overall.
Probably the biggest surprise about this loss was that most Jayhawks fans expected it. Maybe they didn’t expect the blowout it was in the first half, but Kansas fell down by double digits in the opening minutes in many games this season. Few Kansas fans thought their team would advance to Kansas City before the tournament started. The dominant win in round one gave fans hope but that win was largely a matter of the opponent they faced on that day. Kansas had not fixed their problems and we saw that in this game against Auburn.
Kansas desperately needs more outside shooters if they are going to improve next season. Dotson and Grimes need to be two of those improvements from the outside. They must improve their outside shot if they are going to get as many minutes as they did this season. Both appear to have the ability to be really good outside shooters and I would expect that both are going to return next season much improved in that area.
This was a relatively difficult season for Kansas. Most players make their biggest improvement from their freshman to their sophomore season. If that happens for Kansas’ players this team should be back to challenging for the Big 12 conference title and advancing deep in March next season.