The Kansas Jayhawks take on the Iowa State Cyclones for the second time this season on Saturday, and this time the game is a home game for Kansas. Since the last meeting between these two teams the seasons and the play off the two have taken a decidedly different direction.
For the Cyclones things have gone downhill. Fred Hoibergs team now sits 14-10 overall and just 1-8 in conference play with 6 straight losses. For Kansas, they've dropped one game, but at the same time they have gone from a team that seemed to let everyone hang around, to somewhat of an offensive juggernaut.
Still for Kansas coach Bill Self, defense is the missing ingredient and what he's looking to see when Kansas takes on the Cyclones on Saturday.
"I think our next step is that we've got to play defensive like we're not making shots."
Here's the catch. The Jayhawks aren't missing many shots. At least they aren't missing at a rate that would prevent their talented offensive players from strictly outscoring teams. When asked whether coach Self believed his team thought they could outscore a team on any given night his response again turned to defense.
"I think there's way too much of it. We talked about that for an hour yesterday. (We talked about) different things, but that was definitely one of the topics. In a game where you're not making shots, or a game where you're playing with foul trouble, can you get four or five stops in a row in the clutch part of the game? I don't think that this team does that consistently enough."
Plain and simple the Jayhawks are a very good offensive team. To reach a championship level, they need to find that same level on the defensive end. Saturday against the Cyclones, Kansas has a chance to fine tune that piece of their game in a friendly environment in what should be a manageable win.