If Kansas is to continue its recent success against Oklahoma, it must find a way to break out of a current rough stretch that has coach Bill Self frustrated and concerned.
The fifth-ranked Jayhawks look to avoid their first three-game losing streak in almost eight years when they try for an 11th straight victory over the host Sooners in Saturday's Big 12 matchup.
Self was not ready to panic after Kansas' 18-game winning streak and 33-game run at Allen Fieldhouse ended with an 85-80 loss to previously unranked Oklahoma State last Saturday. His concern increased Wednesday after the Jayhawks (19-3, 7-2) shot 29.5 percent (18 of 61) in a 62-55 road loss to a TCU team that was 0-8 in the Big 12.
It's the first time Kansas lost consecutive contests since Jan. 14-16, 2006 - a span of 264 games and the longest active streak in Division I. The Jayhawks last dropped three straight Feb. 14-21, 2005.
"All teams go through funks, but we're certainly in probably the worst funk that I've ever seen a Kansas team be in,' said Self, whose squad has shot 35.2 percent in the last two games after shooting 48.7 in the previous 18.
"Not a good team right now. ... This thing has turned on a dime and it could certainly continue to turn worse if we don't right the ship real soon.'
There might have been signs of this coming Jan. 28, when the Jayhawks shot 54.1 percent but committed 16 turnovers in a hard-fought 61-56 win at West Virginia. They turned it over the same amount against the Cowboys and four days later at TCU, they did not score until 7:17 into the game and managed 13 points at the break.
Kansas shot 3 of 22 (13.6 percent) in the first half Wednesday - same it went from 3-point range overall.
"It was the worst team that Kansas ever put on the floor, since Dr. Naismith was there,' Self said. "I think he had some bad teams when he lost to Topeka YMCA and things like that in the first couple years. But for the first half, there hasn't been a team play worse than that offensively.'
Though Self's frustration likely got the best of him, he is left to wonder if his team can again play at the level it did the previous 2 1/2 months.
"It's not so much that we lost, it's just so much to me that we were kind of the bullies of the league, and we let people think they could whip us,' he said. "And when they did, everybody now thinks they can whip us.'
That might apply to Oklahoma (14-7, 5-4), even though it's shot 37.9 percent while losing 10 straight to Kansas by an average of 13.0 points since a 71-63 home victory Feb. 21, 2005. Ben McLemore (16.3 points per game) scored 18 while Jeff Withey added 13 with nine rebounds and four blocks in the Jayhawks' 67-54 win over the Sooners on Jan. 26.
Oklahoma lost its second straight and fourth in six games, 83-64 at Iowa State on Monday. It is shooting 37.5 percent and has gone 6 for 30 (20.0 percent) from 3-point range in its last two.
"We've got no excuses," coach Lon Kruger said. "We didn't take much away, and we're going to have to work on changing that."
Averaging a team-leading 13.8 points, Oklahoma senior forward Romero Osby has totaled 31 in the last two versus Kansas.
The Associated Press News Service
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