When the college basketball season began, Kansas was viewed as a Final Four contender with the most sought-after freshman in the nation on the roster in Andrew Wiggins.
But over the past two months, the Jayhawks have taken a series of steps backward, including Sunday's 61-57 home loss to a talented, experienced and determined San Diego State team.
The 21st-ranked Aztecs ended the Jayhawks' 7-year-old 68-game home winning streak in nonconference games in coach Steve Fisher's first time coaching in Allen Fieldhouse. The last time Kansas lost at home outside the Big 12 Conference was Nov. 15, 2006 to Oral Roberts.
The Jayhawks had fallen from No. 5 in the preseason Associated Press poll to No. 16 this week and they will continue to fall when the new polls are released Monday.
All four of Kansas' losses have come against teams in the current rankings, and the Jayhawks still have that win over Duke back in November to feel good about. But coach Bill Self has some issues to address at point guard and in the paint and it's not a good time to be trying to find fixes heading into conference play in, arguably the toughest conference in the nation.
Give the Jayhawks some credit for fighting back from an 11-point deficit to give themselves a chance to win at the end. They just didn't get it done - again. Losing close games late against good teams is becoming a theme for these Jayhawks.
Meanwhile, Fisher's team extended its winning streak to 11 games and its' only loss this season came back in mid-November to Arizona, currently the nation's No. 1 team.
The Aztecs have three wins over ranked opponents and while the Mountain West Conference will certainly be challenging, its tough to think the Aztecs won't get through the conference schedule mostly unscathed.
The Aztecs play tough defense and rebound. They dominated the boards 51-39 Sunday, which is almost unheard of against Kansas on its home floor. They held the Jayhawks to 29.8 percent shooting, the second worst shooting performance of the Bill Self coaching era in Lawrence. No one is going to want to see the Aztecs on the other end of the court in March.
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