Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self reacts against the TCU Horned Frogs during the second half at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. / Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Bill Self has been at Kansas for 10 seasons now, long enough to know exactly where his Jayhawks' unforgettable performance Wednesday night ranks when measured up against the historic program's 115 previous seasons.
"It was the worst team Kansas has ever put on the floor," Self said emphatically. "Since Dr. [James] Naismith was there. I think he had some bad teams and lost to the YMCA the first couple years."
During this unique college season, which has been long on offensive ineptitude and short on great teams, few performances will resonate quite like the one that unfolded here Wednesday night, when a sea of purple-clad Horned Frogs fans flooded the court after TCU held the Jayhawks to 13 first-half points en route to a 62-55 victory.
Throughout the first half, Self paced and cringed, shook his hands and head and eventually just placed his fingers over his eyes. Like most Kansas fans, Self could barely bring himself to watch his Jayhawks author their worst offensive half of his 10-year tenure.
After losing at home to Oklahoma State on Saturday, Kansas' first loss since Nov. 13, the Jayhawks figured to blitz Big 12 bottom feeder TCU on Wednesday night. But in a season defined by historically low scoring nationwide, the fifth-ranked Jayhawks turned in an unsightly offensive performance against a team that was winless in Big 12 play.
Kansas scored six points in the game's first 16 minutes at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum, where many fans appeared as much in disbelief as the Kansas players. The 13 first-half points was the lowest total for a half at Kansas since the school began keeping such records in the 1988-89 season.
"I assess the whole game as, what's the right word? Futility?" Self said. "I don't know how to describe it. It was awful. Even as bad as it was, which it was horrendous ... Offensively, that is as bad as you can play. We got off to such a bad start, and obviously it got worse from there."
Throughout the preseason, Kansas' seniors had talked about the motivation gained from the loss to Kentucky in the 2012 national title game. They talked about leaving a legacy at Kansas and distinguishing themselves.
They didn't have to wait until the NCAA tournament to distinguish themselves. Gone is Kansas' streak of 264 games without consecutive losses, which had been the longest in the nation.
"We came out flat and overconfident," Kansas' Kevin Young said. "We just thought we could come in here and win the game because it said Kansas on our shirt ... There's a lot of great players who have worn this jersey before us. To come out and play like this, we embarrassed ourselves."
Credit TCU's defense a bit, but even first-year coach Trent Johnson said Kansas missed countless open shots throughout.
"We knew going in we were going to have to play extremely hard, and they would have to help us," Johnson said. "When I say help us, they obviously missed a lot of shots that they would make."
The Jayhawks, who entered the game leading the league in field goal percentage (47.8%), made 3 of 22 field-goal attempts in the first half. Redshirt freshman Ben McLemore, the Big 12's second-leading scorer, missed all six of his field-goal attempts in the half.
"For the first half, there has not been a team play worse than that," Self said. "Anywhere. Maybe Northern Illinois earlier in the year.
"The great thing was we had three assists with the three baskets. Sharing the ball."
After facing a 16-point deficit with 11 minutes to play in the game, order was restored, at least momentarily. The more athletic Jayhawks pressed and turned the game into a scramble, engineering a frenetic rally to cut the deficit to single digits. But their hopes faded amid a flurry of errant shots.
"If we could start three guys, we'd start three guys," Self said. "Because I don't really know who deserves to start. You have got to start five."
As teams continue to play musical chairs atop the polls, this result will resonate as a jaw-dropper throughout the season. If there had been any doubt about how wildly unpredictable this March figures to be, fans can look no further than Wednesday's game here. TCU was ranked 236th in the RPI and had not won a game since beating Mississippi Valley State on Dec. 30.
Aside from a nine-point loss to struggling Texas Tech, TCU had lost all of its Big 12 games by double digits. Playing its first season in the Big 12, TCU figured to be no match for a team that had won eight straight Big 12 regular season titles.
And Kansas did not just lose. It looked lost offensively at times. No great team exists in college basketball this season, and even alleged very good teams can be susceptible to ghastly efforts, as Kansas demonstrated.
Throughout the game, Kansas' looked listless offensively and out of sync. The Jayhawks at one point were tripping over one another and struggled to get back down court on defense. Few players showed any glimpse of emotion, even as the scoreboard inexplicably showed an inept offensive performance.
"We're not individually a team of great players," Self said. "We have one guy who is super talented. And we have a bunch of nice players. We have allowed everybody the opportunity to believe they can beat us. And they should. We have opened up that floodgate."
One of the TCU students who stormed the court was appropriately dressed as a skunk because Kansas stunk up the arena all night with its offensive play. What was Self's message to players after the game?
"We need to look in the mirror," Young said.
Follow Eric Prisbell on Twitter @EricPrisbell
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Read the original story: Disgruntled Bill Self compares 'worst Kansas team ever' to Northern Illinois