▪ Key play: With Kansas leading 24-16 with 4:15 left in the half, Wichita State’s Evan Wessel drilled a three-pointer from the top of the key. The shot sparked a 13-2 run.
▪ Key stat: The Shockers were five of 11 from three-point range.
▪ Key play: As the Kansas offense sputtered, Wessel drilled another three-pointer, extending the Shockers’ lead to 46-34 with 13:36 left in the game.
▪ Key stat: Wichita State outscored Kansas 28-20 in the paint.
After loss, Oubre not thinking about NBA yet
Kansas freshman wing Kelly Oubre will face a pressing decision in the coming weeks as he ponders his basketball future. Oubre, an athletic 6-foot-7 swingman, is projected as a first-round pick in the NBA Draft. But in the moments after Kansas’ 78-65 loss to Wichita State on Sunday night, Oubre said he wasn’t ready to think about any NBA decisions.
“Our team just lost one of the biggest games of our career,” Oubre said. “It’s a tough feeling right now. I’m just still letting it sink in that we lost our last game of the season. We worked so hard this year. It’s not the end. It’s a definitely a tough feeling. To get over that, that’s when I’ll be able to answer that question.”
When asked if he would consider returning to school for another season, Oubre politely said he wasn’t thinking about any possible decision.
“I’m just thinking about these guys,” Oubre said. “This season has been definitely a blessing to play with these guys. It’s tough to take this loss. I’m not thinking anything about the future.”
Oubre’s size, athleticism and skill set make him an appealing option for NBA teams. Even after averaging fewer than 10 points per game, Oubre could project as a potential lottery pick. Other KU players could face more difficult decisions. Freshman forward Cliff Alexander’s future is still cloudy as the NCAA investigates his eligibility. But he could project as a late first-round or second-round pick as well.
Junior forward Perry Ellis was also asked on Sunday about the prospect of leaving early for the NBA Draft.
“I haven’t thought about that,” Ellis said. “I’m just going to go with the flow and see what happens.”
Barkley the college expert
Maybe Charles Barkley should stick to his NBA analysis.
Barkley said that KU’s Cliff Alexander was “playing pretty good” in the first half. Athough the Jayhawks certainly could have used Alexander on Sunday, he hasn’t played in four weeks because of questions about his eligibility.
▪ Kansas has zero scholarship seniors on the roster and has signed just one player — Cleveland power forward Carlton Bragg — in its 2015 recruiting class. If Oubre and Alexander were to leave, KU coach Bill Self would still have three open scholarships to use in this next class.
▪ The Jayhawks fell to 12-3 all-time against Wichita State, losing to the Shockers for the first time since the 1986-87 season. Self said he didn’t believe the pregame hype surrounding the game affected the outcome, but he did concede that the discussion of Kansas and Wichita State facing off in the regular season wasn’t going away.
“Our guys were ready to play,” Self said. “They were just better. But the whole thing is, the rivalry and how it’s played out, it certainly adds attention and adds to a lot of talk moving forward, I’m sure.”
▪ Kansas failed to reach the Sweet 16 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since losing in the first round in both 2005 and 2006. In 12 seasons at Kansas, Self has failed to get out of the first weekend five times and advanced to the Elite Eight five times, including two Final Fours.