Kansas University's men's basketball record is perfect. The team, of course, is not.
"I told the guys the other day, 'We are further along than we were last year no question, but we are not together like we need to be.' We've got to get to the point we value every possession,'' KU coach Bill Self said of his squad, which improved to 6-0 (compared to last year's 5-1 mark) following an 87-49 pasting of Florida Atlantic on Wednesday in Allen Fieldhouse.
Offensively, the Jayhawks are averaging a healthy 89.0 points a game off sizzling 54.8 percent shooting entering Sunday's 1 p.m. clash at Southern California.
Yet the squad, which has been without the injured Sherron Collins the past four games and has been playing with a less-than-100 percent Brandon Rush, has been far from a smooth-flowing offensive machine.
"We have been emphasizing to our guards they have to trust their abilities to get the big men the ball," Self said. "To me it's a very simple deal. You just get it and throw it to them, and it's the big guys' responsibility to catch it.
"We think way too much. We have to play through our big guys more on the low post. We missed them (big men) countless times in the first half (against FAU). Our post guys are better offensive players than they have demonstrated in a large part because our guards have got to feed them the ball."
Darrell Arthur leads KU's big men at 14.5 points per game, followed by Darnell Jackson (11.2), Sasha Kaun (8.0) and Cole Aldrich (3.3).
"We've got to get better at that. I know I missed the big guys a couple of times," said senior guard Jeremy Case, who had six assists and no turnovers in 15 minutes versus FAU. "Our big guys have to do a better job posting up, too. They have to make themselves available on the post, and we have to have confidence to throw it to them."
On the defensive end, KU is holding foes to 62.1 points a game off 39.6-percent shooting.
"Defensively we will get a lot better," Self said. "We need to develop a lock-down defender. Brandon (Rush) is not ready for that that yet."
Case can pinpoint one of the problems on defense.
"We make two small mistakes, and it costs us," he said. "We will get better as the year goes along. We need to do it now, but eventually it'll get better."
If it's any consolation ... all teams are a work in progress, including the fourth-ranked Jayhawks.
"My teams here ... we haven't started well," Self said. "Even when we started out really strong my second year, 20-1, that team wasn't very good, not as good as the record. Last year we weren't good until the Boston College game (12th game) even though we were winning games.
"We were really good the last five minutes and overtime against Arizona (in 76-72 victory), but it's an inconsistent thing. Shady (Arthur) is not the low-post scorer he'll become. Brandon is running around on a leg and a half, Sherron is out. We play a lot faster with Sherron. Take Julian (Wright, NBA) off the team, have half of Brandon and no Sherron, that's a little bit different team than we thought we'd have."
Indeed ... "We are making great progress. We will get better as time goes on," Case said.