Round Two: Down But Not Out Kansas Takes On Oklahoma

USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas Jayhawks come to Norman looking to right the ship that has taken a sudden turn. On the other side of that will be the Oklahoma Sooners who have lost two consecutive games for the first time this season. Can OU find their winning ways against a down but not out KU team?

Four days after losing to the Oklahoma St. Cowboys in Phog Allen, the Kansas Jayhawks took to the road to take on the cellar-dweller of the conference in the TCU Horned Frogs. After losing three players to season ending injuries, the message from Coach Trent Johnson to his players was simple.

"I said this from day one, we need to focus on what's in the locker room. You're never as bad as people say you are." - Trent Johnson

In stunning fashion, the Horned Frogs down league leading Kansas as the Jayhawks struggled severely on offense putting up a mere 13 points in the first half.

Lowest-Scoring First Halves
Big 12, Past Five Seasons

Date Team Opponent Pts
2009 Colorado Iowa State 9
2012 Okla. St. Oklahoma 12
2013 Kansas TCU 13
2012 Texas Tech Baylor 15

The win by TCU ended an streak that goes back to 2006. In 264 games, Kansas refused to drop consecutive games but all that came crashing down in one fail swoop.

Now, the Jayhawks will be looking to right the ship against another team coming off consecutive losses in the Oklahoma Sooners. After Lon Kruger changed things up against in the last game starting senior Sam Grooms as the point guard over Je'lon Hornbeak, all signs point to Isaiah Cousins getting the start this go around as he has strung together a few productive games. However, Cousins is the least vocal of the crew known as "Three The Hard Way."

Kansas is going to continue to be the defensive threat Oklahoma saw in the first matchup. What must the Sooners change then? The first thing the Sooners can do is hope and pray that Bill Self and his squad return to form on Sunday.

On a more serious note, Jeff Withey has shown that he is a shot changer in the lane. When drawn outside of his comfort zone, he becomes far less affective. Romero Osby has the capability to put the ball on the floor and create for himself. Yet, this does not mean other players should not attack Withey. The first option is to take the ball directly at Withey with the anticipation that he will rotate over to block the shot. In turn, this leaves the backdoor open for a cutting Amath M'Baye etc.

The second option is simple on paper and far more difficult to execute. Let me explain. A high screen to bait the defender into the switch is very likely. This puts a 7-footer in Withey against a speedy guard like Buddy Hield who will drive by him to the rack. But, you must be able to account for the hedge as well as the possibility of the defender going under/over the screen instead of switching.

Is Kansas beatable? Absolutely by all means. Will it happen? It's hard to tell at this point in the game. Tipoff is at 3:00 PM and can be found on ESPN.

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