They may be 5-1, but Kansas coach Bill Self is expecting is team to come out with more team intensity, especially from his guards, when they face Oregon State (4-1), Friday night at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
After struggling through a 70-57 win over San Jose State, Monday night at home, the Jayhawks return to the site of their two best games of the season. Two weeks ago, KU dominated Washington State and Saint Louis in the CBE Classic in Kansas City.
Earlier in the week, Self explained how he wants his guards to be less passive and make plays for others to get the team going. He has been consistently critical of the guards, particularly Elijah Johnson as Kansas continues to look for a successor to Tyshawn Taylor when it comes to setting up others.
“In transition, he’ll pitch ahead to Ben (McLemore) or Travis (Releford), which we do emphasize pitching ahead,” Self said. “But, once we pitch ahead to one of those guys, now we have nobody that’s a playmaker with the ball that can go get a shot for somebody else. He just took himself out of the possession. He’s done for that possession.”
Self mentioned the difference between this year and last year, in which Johnson was pitching ahead to Taylor, who was able to create for others. So far, the replacement of Taylor has been arguably the biggest struggle alongside with replacing the inside presence of Thomas Robinson.
Up front, Kansas comes off the school’s second ever triple double, which was collected by Jeff Withey, who scored 16, pulled down 12 rebounds and blocked 12 shots.
Against the Beavers, KU looks to find consistency that has been present at times. Monday night against San Jose State, the Jayhawks built a 24-point lead before cold shooting allowed the Spartans to close within seven. Self hopes his team can get all facets to match up.