The Re-Match

Saturday Kansas will get the chance to do something it has not been able to do all season – avenge a loss. K-State and Michael Beasley head to Lawrence attempting to end a three-game skid and beat their vaunted rival twice in one season.

At 10-3, a Big 12 title is still within reach for Kansas. But if KU is to win its fourth straight conference title two things must happen. First, the Jayhawks will have to take care of business – that means winning their last three games – and they will need some help from Texas who sits atop the standings with a one game lead.

Maybe even more importantly than a conference title, Kansas needs a feel good win. I’m not diminishing the early season accomplishments at USC, at Boston College (who’s now just 13-13 on the season), and at Georgia Tech. But let’s face it. Kansas doesn’t have that marquee win to hang its hat on. The Jayhawks have some nice wins, but they’ve beaten just one opponent who currently resides in the RPI top 25 and that’s Arizona. You could arguably say that two of KU’s biggest conference matchups have resulted in loses (Texas, K-State).

Let’s make this clear ANY win on the road is a good one in conference play. Winning at Missouri is always tough, going to Ames is never easy, and Stillwater has proven to be dangerous for any opposing team. But Kansas needs to beat one of the upper echelon Big 12 teams and K-State affords that opportunity.

If you had to choose right now Texas would surely get the nod as a one seed before Kansas. The Longhorns have more quality road wins in conference and there’s no other team in the country that can boast wins over UCLA, Tennessee, and Kansas.

So dare I say that a team who’s 25-3, 10-3 conference needs a “big” win?

Getting a “W” at home against Michael Beasley and Co. on Saturday would be a good start.

The three-game skid most likely takes KSU out of the mix for a Big 12 title but the Wildcats will be salivating over the chance to beat KU twice in a season. Frank Martin’s team will also be looking to right the ship down the stretch with the post season fast-approaching.

Beasley has been on a tear of late and leads the conference in scoring and rebounding (26.2 ppg, 12.6). Beasley and Walker combined for 47 points in the first meeting this season but it might’ve been freshman Jacob Pullen’s 20 points that provided the kick in the stomach for Kansas.

Brandon Rush (15), Mario Chalmer (19), Darrell Arthur (12), and Sherron Collins (12) all ended up in double-figures for KU during the late January tilt in Manhattan.

Since the teams last met we’ve learned a couple of things. Beasley is absolutely as good as advertised and is putting up freshmen numbers never seen before. The sure-fire NBA prospect now has 24 double-doubles on the season. In fact, the last time Beasley failed to notch a double-double? It was January 30th when he managed 25 points but just six rebounds against Kansas.

We’ve also learned that if Darrell Arthur can stay out of foul trouble, he’s capable of producing solid numbers. The Kansas offense seems to be more fluid when Shady is part of the picture. Arthur had a stretch of games where he scored in double-figures in 12 of 14 games, but he’s managed double-digits in just one of his last three games. For Kansas to go far in March, Shady needs to spend more time on the court than he does sitting next to his coaching staff.

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