It was supposed to be a showdown between the Big 12's top two teams, but instead it turned into one-sided show. Kansas dominated early, then put on display of awe inspiring dominance, as they crushed Texas 85-54, Saturday night at Allen Fieldhouse.
The beating was so complete that it's surprises no one that the Jayhawks can clinch at least a share of the Big 12 regular season championship, which would make 10 in a row, Monday night against Oklahoma.
"I said at the beginning of the year, and I probably said it wrong, everyone was talking about the best team in the country and I said I thought Kansas was the best team in the country," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "What I should have said was at the end I think they can be the best team in the country."
After falling behind 8-3, Kansas (21-6, 12-2) outscored Texas (20-7, 9-5) to close out the half with a commanding 46-18 lead. The manner in which they did it was jawdropping. With freshman Andrew Wiggins dropping 15 points at will and hammering home dunks and with center Joel Embiid doing the same, it was never in doubt.
"We were so geeked up and amped up and played so well early," Kansas head coach Bill Self said. "We got behind 8-3, and I looked up at the scoreboard and I think it was 34-15 or 34-13, something like that. We went on like a – I could be wrong – 31-5 run. It was unbelievable, and our guys played so good. Everybody played great. Naadir (Tharpe) was fabulous even though he didn't make shots, he set the tone defensively. We kept them out of the paint for the most part in the first half, but we were so active. A lot of times we are not great in transition, but tonight to get 26 points in transition was pretty special."
Wiggins would finish with 21 points and six rebounds and Embiid finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and six blocks, breaking Eric Chenowith's freshman blocks record. Now, comes to chance to make a season long quest a reality.
"Yes, that was our first goal to start the year off – to win a tenth straight Big 12 Championship," guard Frank Mason said. "That's still our goal. Right now we are taking it one game at a time so we can reach that goal and keep making history."