The top two teams in the Big 12 standings will clash on Saturday in the biggest game of the season for either team. The Jayhawks are coming off a one-point victory against a pesky Texas Tech team while the Longhorns lost by nine points in Ames.
The Jayhawks have a commanding two-game lead with five game remaining. Those remaining five games aren’t exactly a pushover: vs. Texas, vs. Oklahoma, at Oklahoma State (with Marcus Smart), vs. Texas Tech and then at West Virginia.
Just how important is Saturday’s game? A win on Saturday would give the Jayhawks a three-game lead with four games remaining. If the Jayhawks win their next two games, they’re guaranteed at least a share of the Big 12 crown for the 10th consecutive season. Win the next three games, and the Jayhawks will win it outright.
On the flip side, if Texas can pull of an upset in the Fieldhouse on Saturday, the Big 12 race gets really interesting.
The Jayhawks looked lost last time they played the Longhorns. Kansas fell behind by 15 at halftime and despite putting up 46 points in the second half, they lost their first conference game of the season, 81-69. The Jayhawks had their worst shooting night of the season since their loss vs. San Diego State, shooting 38.5 percent. If it weren’t for Wayne Selden’s 21-point outburst, the Jayhawks would have been blown out.
Andrew Wiggins was a big reason why Kansas had such a bad day from the field as he missed 10 shots. It was easily Wiggins’ worst game of his career. Since the loss on February 1st, Wiggins has regained his mojo and has played exceptional. If you remember, Wiggins had back-to-back career-high scoring games before Kansas went to Austin, Texas.
KU’s biggest improvement can come from their front court. Perry Ellis and Joel Embiid combined for 7-for-18 from the field and 12 rebounds. Kansas got beat badly in the paint, getting out-rebounded. Only Kansas State, Iowa State and Texas have scored more than 30 points in the paint against the Jayhawks.
In the end, the Jayhawks simply have to play better than they did February 1st and they have to play better than they did Tuesday night vs. Texas Tech. If they do, t-shirt companies can start printing “10 straight” t-shirts.