To answer the question posed in the blog headline is: To the west coast. For a Thursday night game against Southern California in Los Angeles.
The Jayhawks need to get away after Monday night’s loss to Davidson at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. That was a bad performance by a good team but one that faces its share of challenges.
There is a glaring lack of depth. So for all of you who believe Tyshawn Taylor should have his minutes reduced, mind giving me an alternative? And don’t go with Naadir Tharpe. Please.
Besides, Taylor isn’t close to being KU’s biggest problem. Yes, he has turnover issues. That’s not going to change. But he plays solid defense and is the No. 2 scoring option behind Thomas Robinson. Kansas fans need to get over their issues with Taylor and accept him as the Jayhawks’ point guard for the rest of the season. He’ll be gone after that and you Taylor-haters can go on to other things.
Outside of Robinson, who had 21 points and 18 rebounds in the loss to Davidson, the Jayhawks lack players who scare the opposition. And that’s a big deal. Coaches who are game-planning against Kansas will devote more and more resources to slowing down Robinson if other Jayhawks players don’t step up.
Guard Elijah Johnson has a world of talent, but doesn’t shoot consistently. Center Jeff Withey has come a million miles since last season, but there are a million miles left to go. Travis Releford is a nice player who can do a variety of things, but he’s not going to scare anyone. And the best teams scare opposing coaches.
The Kansas bench players produced six points Monday night, all from senior Conner Teahan. But he made only 2-of-8 three-pointers before fouling out. Teahan is such an important part of the Jayhawks but he has to make shots. Has to.
Justin Young, who seemed to have a break-out game against Ohio State on Dec. 10, broke back in to wherever he had been before against Davidson, failing to score in 10 minutes of highly forgettable action.
Right now, Missouri and Baylor look like teams that can beat Kansas in Big 12 play. Texas A&M might be a better team than the Jayhawks, too. And dare I say Kansas State has an edge on the Jayhawks?
Robinson is one of the best players in the country. Taylor, whether you agree or not, is a plus. Johnson has the ability to be a dangerous scorer. Releford and Withey are fine.
But there’s no quality depth here, especially if Young’s performance against the Buckeyes was a mirage. And on the nights when shots aren’t falling for Teahan, he becomes suspect.
Recruiting failures and NCAA eligibility polices have damaged Kansas, at least in the short term. It’s killing the Jayhawks to not have all of the players in their arsenal that they expected to have.
That’s not going to change, though. KU coach Bill Self has what he has to work with. And as KU teams go, it’s not that much.