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02/07/2013

The truth about Big 12 (i.e. Kansas) basketball

Usp-ncaa-basketball_-kansas-at-tcu_001-4_3_r536_c534FORT WORTH - Kansas coach Bill Self was wrong when he said his team played the worst half of basketball in the history of the program against TCU on Wednesday. Go with the worst half of basketball in the history of basketball. 

In scoring 13 first-half points, KU missed close shots. Three-pointers. Guarded shots. Free throws. Layups. Putbacks. Bunnies. Garbage.

The best that the Big 12 has ever had to offer in the way of men's basketball is good, but down. The same can be said of the entire league. It was bound to happen. As the Big 10 finally improved - Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State are legit - the Big 12 finally slipped. When I say "slip" I mean Kansas is not dominant.

No team in the Top 25, let alone top 5, should have lost to that TCU team. A serious case can be made that TCU this season is the least-good team in the history of the league.

Kansas+TCU+Basketball+020713KU's embarrassing loss at TCU on Wednesday night can not be used to accurately predict the future, but there are other signs to think that this team will not be in the Elite Eight again. No Big 12 team looks like it will go beyond the Sweet 16.

The Jayhawks have nice players, but this is not a tough team. The Morris Twins, Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor gave KU at attitude over the past few seasons that other teams could not handle. Self doesn't have a point guard. Center Jeff Withey should be in the NBA forever, but he's not overpowering like Robinson. Kevin Young is active, but not skilled.

Freshman Ben McLemore is the most talented player on the floor, but he needs another year. Freshman Perry Ellis looks lost. Upperclassmen Travis Releford and Elijah Johnson are nice, veteran players but don't have the type of talent to create their own shots consistently adn take over a game.

Kansas is not bad, and historically Self's team improve as the season goes, but his team is limited in a way to suggest that the Big 12's tournament run will be short lived in 2013.

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