Asked where KU fans were when TCU upset #5 Kansas - most fans will tell you, others will say they woke up to the shock this morning. That's where a matchup between the Jayhawks and Horned Frogs registered before Wednesday night.
TCU led by as many as 16 against Kansas before winning 62-55, giving KU back to back losses for the first time in seven years.
Let that sink in for a second: first back to back loss for Kansas in nearly seven years. College basketball is a game where teams go through lulls and highs, runs of wins and losses but Kansas hasn't dropped back to back games in nearly seven years. That is stunning in itself, but less than a loss to TCU. The Horned Frogs hadn't won a game in the Big 12 all season.
Elijah Johnson didn't score his first basket until three minutes left in the game and Travis Releford fouled out with just one point. Johnson's confidence has been shaken since Oklahoma State loss last Saturday when he was stripped right before the three point line, ending Kansas chances of a last second win.
Kansas guard play has been the most troubling part of their game this season. Despite returning two seniors in Johnson and Releford, neither of them have been full time starters until this season. Both have been exceptional given expectations, but came crashing back to Earth after Wednesday night. Naadir Tharpe has come on in 2013 but expectations for him have been less than than thrilling.
Jeff Withey has been the rock for the 'Hawks to this point. The Senior center is averaging 13 points a game and four blocks, and he is a couple shy of the school record. He is the least of Bill Self's problems. Other big men have been. Perry Ellis was given a starting job against TCU but went without a bucket in the first 10 minutes, finishing without a point.
Self said following that Oklahoma State loss last Saturday that the team was living on borrowed time. Unbelievable to think but they are on even thinner footing after Wednesday.
Wichita State is feeling the same right now, maybe even worse. WSU was the sexy new midmajor team of the land and riding a 19-2 record, they were a lock for the postseason tournament and continued chatter about Gregg Marshall and his "inevitable" new gig after the season.
All of that has come to a halt after losing to Southern Illinois, Tuesday night. With less than three seconds left, the Salukis' drove into the lane for the lead but Ehime Orupke blocked the shot. Referees called it a goaltend - stirring a controversy that has yet to die down.
The loss was the Shockers third in a row, and worse to a team they led by as many as 17.
WSU used to walk in with as much swagger as a rapper at a concert. Now they are soul searching before their game with Missouri State on Saturday. (Fortunately, it's at the Roundhouse)
Carl Hall is still averaging double figures in rebounds and points for the season but over this last three game stretch, his averaging a little over seven points a game. The fact that he scored 20 points against Northern Iowa last Saturday is impressive considering he broke his right thumb in December.
Malcom Armstead is hit a slump of late, as has Cleanthony Early. All this boils down to a lack of confidence from losing games. Will it come back? Of course, and the best course of medicine is winning again and again.
If Wichita State quits relying on the three ball and works it inside to Hall and Orupke more often that should change things. Of course when Wichita State is shooting from range well, they are one of the best in the country.
The thing that ails Kansas is the same that hurts WSU: Confidence. You lose a game, it drops. You win, it rises and so does popularity.
Oh and by the way, K-State is doing just fine after squeaking past Texas Tech, Tuesday night. Following the loss to TCU, K-State could be ranked ahead of the Jayhawks for the first time all season. They lock up next Monday in Allen Fieldhouse. Never have the Wildcats ever felt like there's a bigger chance to win in Lawrence than that night.