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Bill Self isn't worried about Kansas despite three-game losing skid, but he should be

Yardbarker logo Yardbarker 1/25/2023 Andrew Kulha, Yardbarker
Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self © Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self

The Kansas Jayhawks are the defending national champions, so they'll without a doubt get everybody's best shot this season.

Outside of No. 22 Tennessee beating Kansas in the Battle 4 Atlantis, everyone else's best shot wasn't enough as the Jayhawks blazed out to a 16-1 record to start the season.

And then No. 13 Kansas State beat Kansas in Manhattan, 83-82, last Tuesday. No. 14 TCU followed that up with an 83-60 win over the defending champs at Allen Fieldhouse over the weekend and No. 17 Baylor finished out the Big 12 gauntlet with a 75-69 win in Waco.

The Jayhawks are now 16-4 and ranked No. 9 nationally — down from No. 2 against K-State — and they're looking ahead to a Big 12/SEC Challenge matchup with Kentucky.

It would seem as if Bill Self's team is in dire straits, but the veteran head coach doesn't seem worried yet. He knows that college basketball seasons are long and full of ups and downs, even for championship teams.

"Guys, there is time to be reactive in a negative way if your team's not doing well. This is not one of our times," Self told reporters, per 247Sports. "I mean, we have gotten beat. And granted, we got beat by a team that was projected to win the league tonight that's really good. And they went through the same crap we're going through right now. We got beat by a team that's fifth in the country at their place by one, and we got beat at home (by a team) that could have beat anybody in the country Saturday. So, our league is that good. It's going to be a grind."

Self seems to believe that Kansas' struggles as of late are less an indictment of his team and more a sign of just how talented the Big 12 is. It's worth noting that at least according to the rankings, he's right on that point. Kansas State (5), Texas (10), TCU (11), Iowa State (12), and Baylor (17), all currently join Kansas in the AP Top 25

The problem regarding Self's optimism, though, is that things aren't expected to get easier for Kansas.

Sure, Kentucky isn't a powerhouse this year, but John Calipari will have the Wildcats looking to make a statement Saturday night. The Jayhawks then get right back to Big 12 action with consecutive games against Kansas State, Iowa and Texas.

"The difference in our league from in the past, there's just not games that you can look to saying, 'We can get well here.' I mean, there are none of those games," Self explained. "So, I'll be honest with you, I've got to take a different approach and understand that it's a marathon. It's not an immediate reaction, because you can react immediately in this league, and you'll have nine other teams go through the exact same thing at some point in time during the season."

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