Here are a few summaries of what’s going on with Kansas Athletics this week, November 7:
1. Basketball is back!
Kind of, at least, because what the Jayhawks did against Washburn might not be considered basketball. They were sloppy, they didn’t hustle in transition, they were out-rebounded and out-worked, and they got outplayed in all facets of the game.
That said, there were, in fact, some positives. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk didn’t take 10 games this year to look competent. Frank Mason looked fantastic, coming up one assist shy of a triple-double. Lagerald Vick is going to be a beast, and Josh Jackson will be able to get to the basket and score whenever he pleases. You can check out the game recap of the second and final exhibition match-up versus Emporia State here, but before you do, let’s look ahead to the season opener against Indiana.
When you talk about the Hoosiers, you have to start with superstar sophomore Thomas Bryant. He’s one of the country’s premier centers and will be a definite challenge for Landen Lucas, Udoka Azubuike, and the other KU bigs to guard. And, even though my favorite non-KU player of all time Yogi Ferrell, is gone, Indiana still has solid guard play led by James Blackmon Jr., who couldn’t finish last season due to injury. This is going to be a very tough and exciting start to the year for the ‘Hawks. My prediction: KU wins 73-71.
2. KU Football in a nutshell.
The struggles of KU football have been well documented. The Jayhawks have lost their last 40 road games (the latest of which being the 48-21 loss to West Virginia on Saturday), haven’t won a conference matchup in over a year, and are next to last in the FBS with a -15 turnover margin. Those stats are truly depressing if you think about it. However, I will say this: being bad all the time helps you appreciate that year when your team was good (aka 2008) and anticipate the year when they finally decide not to suck any more (aka before 2020, we hope).
That said, I wouldn’t mind at least flirting with bowl eligibility on a consistent basis. And things may actually be looking up. Even though the KU is 1-8 on the year, the defense has made a very nice improvement from last year. We have a freshman quarterback in Carter Stanley who has looked strong in limited time, and I believe should get the start next week. We also have very underrated receivers and running backs groups, most of whom will be returning for 2017-18. So even though KU football has seemingly been in a slump since the ’70s, the future is always bright. #trusttheprocess.
3. West Virginia recap and Iowa State preview
I’m going to be honest with you guys. I didn’t watch very much of KU-West Virginia on Saturday (can you really blame me though? LSU-Alabama was on. And that was truly more intriguing). The little I did watch, however, showed me the same thing we’ve been watching all season. A defense that plays well and can, at times, get stops, but is constantly on the field because of an offense that cannot move the ball. The offense turns the ball over as much as they find the end zone. Montell Cozart is a huge part of the problem. He was 11/24 passing for 124 yards and one interception. For an offense that wants to play fast and throw the ball, those are unacceptable numbers.
Cozart was replaced in the second half by Carter Stanley, who threw for two touchdowns and more yards than Cozart on just eleven attempts. #StartCart – just sayin’. If Carter Stanley does in fact start the next game, his matchup would be against Iowa State. This is Kansas’ last legitimate chance to win a game this season. Both teams are 1-8, both are 0-6 in Big 12 play, and both won their only game against a far inferior team. What scares me about this game though, is that Iowa State has actually been competitive against Big 12 opponents, whereas the ‘Hawks have been consistently trounced by those same squads. My prediction: Iowa State wins 35-26.
4. Shout out to KU Volleyball!
I know no one reads RCB to get the latest volleyball updates, but these ladies are absolutely crushing it (no pun intended)! Their record stands at 22-2, are ranked No. 4 nationally, and have only lost 20 sets out of 85 played. Last year, this team advanced to the national semifinals, and it could very well make a repeat trip this year. Keep up the good work, ladies!
Landen Fields is a contributor for Rock Chalk Blog. You can check out his archive here.