Andrew Wiggins can't do it alone


GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Andrew Wiggins held the ball above his head and screamed in desperation.

With the game on the line in the final minutes of No. 19 Florida's 67-61 win over No. 13 Kansas on Tuesday night, his teammates had abandoned him on the baseline, nearly prompting a turnover on the inbound pass before Frank Mason rescued him.

That moment was a metaphor for this entire troubling start. Wiggins can't overcome Kansas' weaknesses alone. Even if he could walk on water – and he was otherworldly in his definitive 26-point, 11-rebound, two-block performance -- the rules wouldn't let him pass to himself.

The Jayhawks need a combination of a deliberate Wiggins, efficient starters, reserves who make an impact and a defense that protects the paint and the perimeter (the Jayhawks rank seventh in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage defense).

They didn't have that combo in Gainesville. They didn't have it in Boulder, where they lost to Colorado, or at the Battle 4 Atlantis, where they lost to Villanova, either.

"I think it's on everybody," Wiggins said. "No one on the team lets all the pressure or all the negativity go to one person."

Wiggins needs someone, anyone, to ensure that he never goes another five minutes without a touch in the middle of an opponent's 21-0 run. He needs someone, anyone, to alert him when Patric Young's gladiator screens are threatening his livelihood. He needs someone, anyone, to recognize that it's not all on him. Can't be.

The Jayhawks made a million mistakes at the O'Connell Center. Well, it felt like a million.

And some of them are extensions of complicated equations for Bill Self.

Freshmen Conner Frankamp and Brannen Greene and sophomore Andrew White III are the top 3-point shooters on the squad. But the Jayhawks take a defensive hit when they play. So how can Self utilize the trio to remedy one of his team's most significant issues (Kansas is eighth in the Big 12 in 3-point shooting) and avoid the defensive quandary that their collective presence presents?

And what about Tarik Black, who averaged 8.1 PPG and 4.8 RPG for Memphis last season? He remade his body after his arrival. He looked the part of a rugged forward who would boost the Jayhawks' frontcourt. But his stats on Tuesday -- two missed shots, three fouls in six minutes -- offered little proof of that. Plus, he hasn't scored in three games.

And how can the Jayhawks attack any zone without more secure ballhandling (Mason, Naadir Tharpe and Wayne Selden Jr. committed 12 of Kansas' 24 turnovers against Florida)?

"If your offense sucks in football, usually you look at the quarterback," Self said. "It doesn't fall on the point guards totally. They can do better but we can all do better. But certainly I don't think our guard play has been very consistent so far."

Self added: "I don't think our guards do anything to help [Wiggins] right now."

Those are problems Self will try to solve in practices, meetings and workouts this week. The solutions will probably involve diagrams, playbooks and basketball jargon that most don't understand.

Most of Kansas' crippling issues, however, are not that complex.

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