Maybe conducting a trophy presentation for the Big
12 championship after claiming just a share of the title was an omen.
Whatever the case, Kansas came out flat in its
next game and was never in it at Oklahoma State. The hot-shooting
Cowboys combined clutch 3-point shooting with a 12-for-12 performance
from two front-liners to hand the No. 1 Jayhawks their first conference
The 85-77 outcome dropped Kansas to 27-2 overall
and 13-1 in the Big 12. No, it has still not claimed the conference
title outright entering the final week of the season, which includes a
visit from red-hot Kansas State and a trip to Missouri.
Suddenly, there's some intrigue to a season in
which Kansas dominated the Big 12, despite the conference's No. 1 RPI
and universal agreement from observers that this is the best collective
brand of basketball in the league's brief history.
"I didn't have the team ready," conceded senior
guard Sherron Collins, whose 22 points didn't come close to offsetting
Oklahoma State's hot touch. "I'm the captain. I'm the senior. I should
have had us ready to play. It's my full responsibility when the team
That might be stretching it a little. Everyone
must take some ownership, including Bill Self, who slipped to 1-3 as KU
coach in road games against his alma mater.
What Self offered in his postgame remarks was a
warning as the Jayhawks look ahead to the NCAA Tournament, where
they're still a prohibitive favorite for a No. 1 seed.
"Our toughness level was poor," Self said. "That
can't happen in the tournament in a one-and-done deal. Hopefully we can
learn and understand. We weren't ready to defend."
--The 60.4 percent shooting by Oklahoma State in
its 85-77 upset of Kansas on Feb. 27 was the best marksmanship in 20
years against the Jayhawks. The last time an opponent was hotter from
the floor was in 1990, when Oklahoma shot 62.7 percent while beating
Kansas in the second round of the Big Eight Tournament.
ON THE SPOT: If a message was sent to a certain
player during the loss at Oklahoma State, it was C Cole Aldrich. The
junior logged just eight minutes in the second half and was limited to
11 points and five rebounds. Neither his presence, nor that of any of
the other Kansas front-liners, prevented the Oklahoma State inside
tandem of F Matt Pilgrim and F Marshall Moses from going 12-for-12
collectively for 26 points.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I am believing we can get
something out of (the OSU loss). I don't think the thing is broken. I
do think we need to evaluate our things. We need to take great pride in
the things that help us win, especially this time of year." -- Kansas
coach Bill Self.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
SEASON RECAP: It could be the loss at Oklahoma
State was a sign of fate for Kansas. The last time the Jayhawks visited
Stillwater, in 2008, they suffered a one-point defeat. Then they went
on to win out, capturing the NCAA title. The defeat also meant that the
only team to ever go undefeated in Big 12 play remains the 2001-02
Jayhawks squad coached by Roy Williams.
PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters -- F Marcus Morris, C Cole Aldrich, G Xavier Henry, G Tyshawn Taylor, G Sherron
Collins. Key Subs -- F Markieff Morris, G Brady Morningstar, G Tyrel Reed.
Kansas 94, Colorado 74.
Kansas 81, Oklahoma 68.
Oklahoma State 85, Kansas 77.
vs. Kansas State, March 3.
at Missouri, March 6.
at Big 12 Tournament, March 10-13.
IN FOCUS: Kansas State enters with a six-game road
winning streak and seven-game winning streak overall, which it launched
after an overtime loss against Kansas on Jan. 30. Containing the Kansas
State guards, which happened in the first meeting when Jacob Pullen and
Denis Clemente combined to go 5-for-16, is important. The Jayhawks
claimed a 19-point win at home against Missouri in the first meeting.
--G Sherron Collins led Kansas with 22 points at
Oklahoma State, but also committed a season-high six turnovers. Collins
climbed to seventh on KU's all-time scoring list with 1,774 points.
--G Xavier Henry, who rates anywhere between No. 9
and No. 16 on various NBA mock draft sites, moved to fourth on Kansas'
all-time freshman scoring chart. He has 406 points. He led the Jayhawks
in scoring in four straight games before following Collins with 17
points at Oklahoma State.
--C Cole Aldrich played just 24 minutes at
Oklahoma State, but was the only Kansas starter to shoot better than 50
percent, going 5-for-9. The 11-point outing marked the 20th time this
season Aldrich netted double figures.
Mission Not (Yet) Accomplished
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