Monday Notebook: Chill Pills, Run Defense, & Recruiting Whiffs

Here are a few summaries of what’s going on with Kansas Athletics this week, November 14:

1. Frank Mason vs Indiana recap

Kansas basketball dropped its season opener on Friday to Indiana, 103-99 in overtime. If you are just a general sports and/or basketball fan and you decided to watch this game, you would have been very pleased because this was a very entertaining game. If, however, you are a Jayhawk fan, you were probably screaming at your TV all night. Rebounding was particularly cringe-worthy. It was like watching seventh-grade game. No one on either team, other than on missed free-throw attempts, made much of an effort to box out an opposing player. When you have a team like Indiana that can light you up from behind the arc, you cannot give them second chances. That is exactly what the ‘Hawks did.

For as bad as KU played at times, it honestly shouldn’t have been in the game. Enter Frank Mason. This was the best I’ve ever seen Mason look, high-top hairdo included. His stat line reads like this: 30 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds. Mason just threw his hat into the AP player of the year ring. Devonte’ Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk also had solid outings with 16 and 12 points respectively.

Next up for the Jayhawks is a battle in Madison Square Garden against the No. 1 Duke Blue Devils. This is another game KU very well might lose, but every fan out there who is already calling for Bill Self’s head and saying that Josh Jackson is a bust needs to calm down. Don’t worry, everyone. Take a chill pill. We’re going to be just fine.

2. Defense costs KU football a win?

Yes. Yes it did. The Jayhawks couldn’t stop the run to save their lives on Saturday against Iowa State. The offense, on the other hand, actually moved the ball well and was able to score. That’s the first time this year we’ve consistently shown that since week one versus FCS cupcake Rhode Island. True freshman Carter Stanley looked very sharp under center in his first career start at quarterback. For a second straight week, however, an offense that likes to go fast and throw the ball only had 171 yards through the air on 38 attempts. Once again, this was very disappointing.

As much as the passing game has struggled this year, the ground attack has usually been worse. This was not the case on Saturday. The Jayhawks accounted for 257 yards rushing, with the Senior Ke’aun Kinner going for 158 by himself. Both Kinner and sophomore Taylor Martin each found the end zone. Back on the defensive side of the ball, the Jayhawks allowed 480 yards to Iowa State. 260 of those came via the run game. KU simply couldn’t stop the Cyclones down the stretch. It was outscored 21-10 in the second half and was shutout in the fourth quarter. This loss especially hurts, because it’s a game we could have and should have won. Kansas has just two games remaining this year that it could win, but zero games that it should win. But hey, 1-11 is better than 0-12, right?

3. Jayhawk basketball recruiting news (or lack thereof)

The early signing period hasn’t been kind to Kansas so far. It started with 2017 No. 1 overall recruit DeAndre Ayton, a player who looked like a lock to choose Kansas, committing to Arizona. And when I say lock, I mean that Kansas was pretty much the only one legitimately pursuing him. That one stung. Then, it was top-15 recruit Troy Brown signing with the Oregon Ducks. I get that. Oregon is the upstart contender. The Ducks’ uniforms look pretty cool. It’s trendy to like Oregon.

But then came a decision that makes very little sense to me. Top-10 combo guard Collin Sexton chose to attend ALABAMA over Kansas. He’s from the southeast, so I can understand it from the I-want-to-stay-close-to-home aspect. I also understand that Kansas, or any other blue blood program, isn’t the automatic and obvious choice for every player. But he chose Alabama, an irrelevant SEC team who is a toss-up to even make the NCAA tournament, over the tradition, pageantry, and greatness of Kansas. KU is set up to make a deep tournament run every year, while Alabama is not. I wish I could understand the thought process of all 17 and 18 year-old basketball players. Or do I…?

4. Another KU woman’s sport very few people will care to read about

Last Monday, I wrote about the KU volleyball team. This week, I’ll talk about KU woman’s soccer. Don’t leave yet, though. This wasn’t just any other soccer game. This was a renewal of the Border War. It was also an NCAA tournament game, but who are we kidding, beating Missouri is much more important. And we did just that. The Jayhawks defeated Mizzou 1-0 in double OT for a first round victory. Next up for the Lady ‘Hawks is a match with #2 North Carolina on November 18th. Go get ’em girls!

Landen Fields is a contributor for Rock Chalk Blog. You can check out his archive here.

Landen Fields

I’m a junior in high school. I’m also homeschooled, which gives me the ability to watch ESPN all day. I love the Jayhawks, and I love to write about them. I’m also a huge fan of Star Wars, Marvel, and action/sci-fi movies. I hope to have a career in sports media one day, and I am grateful for this first step into a larger world.