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
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
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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