As Kansas prepares for Saturday's game against Oklahoma, the road trip presents just another game without a Jayhawk team at full strength. As expected head coach Bill Self announced that Tyshawn Taylor would remain suspended for the game in Norman meaning that at best Kansas will have two regular season games to work Taylor back into the rotation.
Fortunately for Kansas it hasn't been a major factor. Despite time missed by seven players due to either suspension or injury, the Jayhawks have always seemed to have someone there prepared to step up as the Jayhawks have managed a 26-2 record through 28 games. That's a luxury most teams don't have and Self knows it.
We still don't have everybody playing their best. If you go through and look at who has had great individual seasons, there are only four guys that have had great seasons - Marcus and Markieff Morris, Brady and Tyrel.
I would say the thing I've learned the most is that we can absorb things when things aren't going well on the court, which is a positive for any team."
The ability for players like Mario Little, Travis Releford and now Elijah Johnson to step up has been a huge lift for Kansas. Come March, that depth could potentially help Kansas make a very deep run in the tournament. Still Kansas needs to be at 100% with those players most important to them and that includes a player like Taylor. For senior guard Tyrel Reed having the team back at full strength is something he is very much looking forward to.
"It will be nice when we can get everyone out there. We've dealt with injuries and some tragedies, but when we get all the guys out there it will be fun. Until then, we'll have to do the best we can with the guys that are out there playing."
At the same time Reed, like Self is confident that Kansas can go into any matchup with whoever Kansas has at their disposal and be effective.
I think we've got good guys regardless of whoever is on the court. I think guys can contribute no matter who they are. I think it's a testament of how close we are as a team and how good of a job our coaches do of getting us ready to play."
While Saturday's matchup against Oklahoma should be a fairly manageable one for the Jayhawks, the final two games against Texas A&M and at Missouri are two games where having the full disposal of players could be key. Not just for winning those games and giving Kansas a chance at a league title, but also to provide an opportunity to build that little bit of team chemistry with everyone back on the court.