Here are a few summaries of what’s going on with Kansas Athletics this week, February 20th:
1. Kansas somehow comes back to beat West Virginia in OT 84-80
I’m still not sure how they did it. The Jayhawks were down by 14 with just under three minutes left, but they stormed back via Devonte’ Graham threes and Frank Mason free throws. This was one of the most unbelievable games I’ve ever watched. For 38 minutes, Kansas had no offensive flow and almost no answer for anything the Mountaineers did. Then Frank Mason hit a three to make the score 64-55 (KU had missed 13 straight threes before that), which opened the flood gates. In one of the most epic role reversals of all time, KU began to make all the plays and WVU could do nothing right.
A lot of those plays were made by Devonte’ Graham being an assassin. He hit some of the biggest threes I’ve seen a Jayhawk player make in a while. Graham finished 5-12 from three and had 18 points. Frank Mason hit 16 free throws, which neutralized him being held to three field goals. He made so many clutch free throws. When the game is on the line, you want the ball in his hands. Josh Jackson continued to play well, recording his fifth double-double in six games. Landen Lucas and Lagerald Vick also contributed: Lucas recorded 13 rebounds and Vick scored 14 points. This was an amazing win for the Kansas Jayhawks, but I’ll be happy if we don’t have to win another one like this.
2. The sky is blue, water is wet, and Baylor blew a late lead
The Jayhawks all but wrapped up a 13th straight Big 12 title on Saturday with the 67-65 victory over Baylor. For a close game, I wasn’t nervous. You know why? Because I don’t believe Baylor can beat Kansas with Scott Drew as their coach or without a transcendent talent that can carry them. I think I’ve run out of adjectives to describe Frank Mason. He recorded 23 points and eight assists. Mason also went 8-8 from the free throw stripe. He’s really good, in case you didn’t know.
Josh Jackson had 16 points and a career-high four blocks. He knocked down a huge three right before halftime that cut Baylor’s lead to six. Landen Lucas had some monster rebounds, but none were bigger than the one off Devonte’ Graham’s missed three-point attempt with less than 15 seconds left. Lucas grabbed a physical board between three Bears, got fouled, and made two free throws to win the game. KU has become a very clutch team this season. It’s fun to watch, but as March approaches, I wish we could have a decisive win or two.
3. Most under/overachieving teams in the Big 12
Overachiever: TCU (17-10 overall, 6-8 in the Big 12). Hiring Jamie Dixon was a great move for the Horned Frogs. TCU has made a huge jump this year, going from an irrelevant bottom-dweller to a team poised to make the Big Dance. They’re only going to get better as long as they have Dixon at the helm.
Underachiever: Oklahoma (9-17 overall, 3-11 in the Big 12). We knew OU wasn’t going to be nearly as good as they were last year, but I think most of us are surprised that they are this bad. And now that Jordan Woodard is gone, they’ll be even worse. Lon Krueger is good coach and will have a solid team next season, but dang, what a whiff in 2017.
Overachiever: Iowa State (17-9 overall, 9-5 in the Big 12). Iowa State wasn’t supposed to have a great team this year but they are tied for second in the Big 12 as it stands right now. They’re almost a lock for the tournament barring a complete collapse. This is a good team who was able to beat KU in Allen. Watch out for the Cyclones.
Underachiever: Texas (10-17 overall, 4-10 in the Big 12). Despite having a better record than Oklahoma, I think they are a worse team. Minus Jarrett Allen, they’re pretty awful. The Shaka Smart experiment isn’t looking good at all. He’s going to be job hunting if he can’t turn this thing around in a year or two.
4. Trae Young is a Sooner
Another swing and a miss for Kansas here. They almost had him, but he decided to stay home just a couple weeks ago. This one stings. It also makes winning over Trevon Duval that much more important. The Jayhawks could be absolutely loaded at guard if he chooses them. But we’ll just have to wait and see.
Landen Fields is a contributor for Rock Chalk Blog. You can check out his archive here.