In 2015, Kansas secured its 11th consecutive Big 12 championship, and the team had many moments that should be appreciated. However, there were also many moments during the year that left Jayhawks fans shaking their heads.
We’ve already recapped the top 10 best moments from this past year, so now it’s time to focus on the negatives.
Here are the 10 worst moments from the Jayhawks 2014-15 campaign:
#10. Three-Point Shooting Drought
This group was not the typical “Bill Self” type of Kansas team. It lacked the usual inside presence, but it made up for it with some great shooting behind the arc. Over the first 24 games, Kansas’ 41% three-point mark placed it in the top five nationally. Self said that threes were “fools gold” on February 10, and then the shooting drought began. After Self’s comment, the Jayhawks shot 27% from long range (35/129) over the final 12 games. KU was 20-4 before the drought began, but after suddenly going ice-cold in mid-February, it plagued the Jayhawks to a 7-5 finish.
#9. Cliff Alexander’s Minutes
Despite putting out performances that were better than other bigs, Cliff Alexander didn’t get nearly the amount of minutes he deserved. There was much debate on why exactly Self was not playing him; early on, the coach insisted that it was because of his “motor,” but Alexander showed much more effort as the season went on. However, it was later announced that he would be under NCAA investigation, and Alexander’s playing time reduced to zero for the remainder of the season.
#8. 32-point loss to Kentucky
This game would be ranked higher if not for the Wildcats being so dominant all year. Losing to another blue-blood school in blowout fashion is terrible, and the November debacle was an early sign of a frustrating year to come for Jayhawk fans. Some of the stats from this game were staggering: Kentucky blocked as many field goals (11) as KU made shots. The Jayhawks’ leader in assists had …one. Kansas shot 19% from the floor – 19%! However, this Kentucky team has shown the ability to be great and the dominance they’ve shown against other teams makes this loss sting just a little less.
This is not a single moment, but it was a problem that plagued the Jayhawks for the entire season. Allowing offensive rebounds to opposing teams cost them several games, and made the lack of Cliff Alexander seem more inexplicable. This stat taken from Rock Chalk Blog’s 100 Facts About the 2014-15 Kansas Jayhawks sums up the problem:
- Total rebounds:
5’11” Frank Mason: 141
6’10” Landen Lucas: 139
6’8″ Jamari Traylor: 130
#6. 25–point loss to Temple
If the Kentucky loss was any form of bearable, this one was not. The Jayhawks lost to an unranked Temple Owls team that wouldn’t even make the NCAA tournament – and it was a blowout. The Kansas players looked as if their Christmas break had already begun, and played the game with little energy. The 25-point shellacking was the second-worst defeat in the Bill Self era.
#5. Wayne Selden’s NCAA Tournament Disappearance
Unfortunately, it has become a common theme now. After Selden looked so good during the Big 12 Tournament (18/27 from the floor, 17.3 points in three games), the hopes of many Jayhawks fans were sky high. This was the Wayne Selden that KU fans had been waiting for! Unfortunately, it disappeared too quickly; he then scored just 6 points on 3/11 shooting in two NCAA tournament games. In four career tournament contests, he is shooting 4/21 (19%) and has 11 points, 7 assists, and 6 turnovers. Kansas fans are hoping that next year will be the season he breaks out.
#4. Loss to Kansas State
Losing to a rival will always be a bad moment for any team. But for the Jayhawks to lose to the same Wildcats team that lost to Texas Southern and Long Beach State? Yikes. After an even first half, Kansas was beginning to pull away from K-State in the second half, as it built an eight-point lead before everything fell apart. The Jayhawks made two field goals in the final 10 minutes of the game. The ensuing court rush and the controversy that followed made it even worse.
#3. Second Half Collapse vs. Iowa State in the Big 12 Tournament
The first half of this game was fantastic. It was arguably the best the Jayhawks had looked all year; Kansas took a 37-23 lead into the locker room and immediately stretched the margin to 17 early in the second half. KU seemed to have the game locked up. Then the last 19 minutes happened. Everything that could go wrong went incredibly wrong. Iowa State ended the game on a 47-26 run spanning the last 19 minutes. It was a monumental collapse, as Kansas surrendered a 40-23 lead and gave the Cyclones a Big 12 Tournament Championship.
#2. Cliff Alexander’s… Predicament?
Cliff Alexander was never actually declared ineligible… so the fact that he could have played in the WSU game that ended KU’s season makes it that much worse. There is little doubt that Alexander would have thrived in that game, as it was the perfect game for him to show his dominance. Wichita State didn’t have a player on its roster over 6’7″, and the 6’9″ Alexander would have given the Jayhawks a desperately-needed presence on the glass. Alas, Kansas wasn’t going to take any chances, and the situation still hasn’t been resolved.
#1. Losing to Wichita State in the Round of 32
Losing in the NCAA tournament will always be the worst part of every season. For the second straight year, Kansas had its season end in the first weekend. The Jayhawks were blown out in the second half against Wichita State; fans were helpless as they watched Evan Wessel and company drain over 50% of WSU’s three-point attempts. Of course, the Jayhawks offered little resistance in allowing Wichita State to shoot 64% after intermission. Making the loss worse, it gave the media and Shockers fans a reason to say the Jayhawks had been ducking WSU for years. Kansas fans overwhelmingly agree that isn’t the case, but that doesn’t make hearing about it any less annoying.