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How to Fix Kansas’ Confidence Problem Before the NCAA Tournament

The Jayhawks are struggling. These five solutions could help.
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The Kansas Jayhawks have a little more than a week to get ready for the NCAA Tournament from their lone game and loss in the Big 12 Tournament. Health is paramount, obviously. KU needs Hunter Dickinson and Kevin McCullar both on the floor and productive if Kansas is going to make a run.

But the Jayhawks also need a boost. As Bill Self mentioned after the Cincinnati game, KU has zero swag right now. With the most important part of the season coming up, nothing should be off the table in terms of fixes. Here are some potential solutions to help Kansas get right.

Host a Skills Competition

I coached my son’s second-grade team this year and during a rough stretch during the season, I scrapped the normal practice plan and we held a skills competition (think NBA All-Star weekend without the fanfare and dunking). In reality, it was a ploy to work on fundamentals and get them out of their heads. But instead of boring dribbling, passing, and shooting drills, they were competitive relays with prizes and winners.

That’s what KU needs. Get the fundamentals back but in a fun environment where they’re not looking at it as rigorous drills.

Wear Red Jerseys All Tournament

We have a large sample size of Nick Timberlake in white and blue Kansas jerseys. But in red on senior night, Timberlake had one of his best games. So now it looks like you have to bust them out until they don’t work anymore.

Give McDowell More Playing Time

Jamari McDowell has proven over the past few games to be competent on both ends of the floor and that the moment is not too big for him. Most of all, he has confidence to shoot when open and makes more good plays than bad ones. That's more that can be said for some other Jayhawks right now. I’d have him play 15-20 minutes per game moving forward.

Make Dunks Worth Three Points

Anyone can shoot the ball. Not everyone can dunk. Especially in a live game. Petition the NCAA to make an emergency ruling to score dunks as three-point baskets. Throwing down a dunk is about as tough as shooting from 21-feet away. Kansas’ offense gets a bump and KJ Adams becomes one of the leading scorers in the tournament.

Find Their Dr. Sharon

For those who have watched Ted Lasso, Dr. Sharon was a sports psychologist brought in when player Dani Rojas got the yips after an incident in the first episode of season two. Who can help Timberlake find his former form or get Johnny Furphy back to his February form? If a lack of swag is an issue, the equivalent of Dr. Sharon can help.

If that’s not possible, maybe bring Jason Sudeikis on the road with them for the tourney run and give pre-game speeches. It worked for the UCONN game.