Kansas lost 80-62 to Kentucky last January inside Allen Fieldhouse. From there, Bill Self went 17-3 the rest of the way and won the 2022 NCAA Tournament. In other words, anybody writing an obituary for the No. 2 Jayhawks' hopes of repeating as national champions after Saturday's 83-60 loss at home to No. 14 TCU doesn't understand the history of their coach or program in general.
That said, it was bad.
The Jayhawks were down 31-13 not even 10 minutes after tipoff and never got the deficit to single digits in the second half. It was a subpar performance from start to finish, one that came just four days after an 83-82 overtime loss at No. 13 Kansas State, which makes this KU's first two-game losing streak in the Big 12 with at least one of the losses coming at home since February 2013.
Next up: Monday's trip to No. 21 Baylor.
So things could get worse before they get better.
"We couldn't score, we didn't guard very well, and the good looks we had we missed," Self said.
Yeah, that pretty much covers it.
The truth is that Kansas had been flirting with something like this all season -- even during a 10-game winning streak that spanned seven weeks. The Jayhawks were down 15 points to Oklahoma State before rallying for a 69-67 win. They were down 12 points at Texas Tech before rallying for a 75-72 win. They were down seven points with less than seven minutes to play against Oklahoma before rallying for a 79-75 win. They trailed Iowa State with less than three minutes to play before rallying for a 62-60 win.
Living like that eventually catches up to you. It caught up to KU this week.
So now Kansas is looking up in the Big 12 standings at Kansas State, which is alone in first place in the league after being picked last in the Big 12 preseason poll. The Wildcats are led by a first-time head coach (Jerome Tang) and a 22-year-old transfer from Florida who missed almost all of the past two seasons after collapsing during a game in December 2020 (Keyontae Johnson).
That's the best story in college basketball.
But it's important to remember, even after a beatdown like the 23-point beatdown TCU just delivered, that the Jayhawks are still 16-3, not 3-16. They're still No. 9 at KenPom.com and in possession of seven Quadrant 1 wins. Only Purdue also has seven. Nobody has more. So it would be foolish to let recency bias distort reality because the reality is that, according to literally every metric available, Kansas remains one of the sport's best teams and a real threat to win what would be Self's third national championship.
Will KU actually do it?
But any team with a championship-level point guard (Dajuan Harris), a likely First Team All-American (Jalen Wilson), a possible NBA Draft lottery pick (Gradey Dick) and the best coach in college basketball (Self) certainly has a chance -- and that's what Kansas still has in its program. It's easy to forget in a week like this week -- but that's what Kansas still has in its program. So, broadly speaking, I still believe in this team.
That said, Saturday was bad.
It was so bad that unless the 2022 national champions perform dramatically better when they meet the 2021 national champions late Monday inside the Ferrell Center, this two-game losing streak will almost certainly become just the second three-game losing streak Kansas has endured in a 10-season span.