March is on the horizon, and the Jayhawks are playing their best basketball.
With pressure mounting, KU produced two statement games in three days to re-establish themselves in the Big 12 Championship race. Monday’s game against Oklahoma quickly changed from a proving ground to a demolition site, as Kansas dominated the Sooners and held Trae Young to a season-low 11 points.
Once a team that seemed mentally fragile and soft on the court, the Jayhawks are hitting their stride and finding their identity. A re-energized Allen Fieldhouse watched KU overcome West Virginia’s 53.8% three-point shooting by attacking the basket and utilizing Udoka Azubuike, who holds the nation’s best field goal percentage. Then, Kansas put together a complete game against Oklahoma, shooting lights-out from three, owning the glass and overcoming big man foul trouble.
Silvio De Sousa, forced into the fold when Udoka Azubuike and Mitch Lightfoot both picked up three personal fouls, had a breakout night. With 10 points and six rebounds in 13 minutes as he shot 100% from the floor and the free throw line, De Sousa’s coming out party is a long-awaited gift as Kansas has struggled with interior depth all season long. With Azubuike, Lightfoot and De Sousa all contributing, the Jayhawks are no longer a completely guard-heavy team that cannot compete for rebounds.
Devonte’ Graham continues to build his legacy, stepping up his play as the pressure builds and turning an unpredictable team into a legitimate contender. A team that was once ranked at best No. 2 and at worst No. 14 in the AP poll, KU is now set to define their Big 12 campaign in a top-ten matchup against the Red Raiders on Saturday. With the Big 12 title and streak on the line in Lubbock, KU’s guards will have to keep up their aggressive three-point shooting and the big men will need to replicate their offensive and defensive efforts to secure a critical road victory. Finally trending in the right direction at the right time, it’s still hard to pick the Big 12 field after all.