For the second time this year the Jayhawks have taken on their biggest rivals in back to back games. One on the road, one at home. One a top 10 ranked opponent, the other plays an exhausting and hectic style of basketball. Both times Kansas successfully sent both Missouri and Kansas State packing with their tails tucked between their legs.
It cannot be overstated how difficult it can be to take a shot from your two biggest rivals in back to back games. Especially when in Kansas' instance you are already a top ranked team taking everyone's best shot to begin with. For Kansas and Bill Self to handle business twice this week and twice this year against these two teams is a big deal. Missouri and K-State are improved programs and anytime you can manage 4-0 in the regular season, it's something to celebrate. It's good to be a Jayhawk.
Now it's on to the conference tourney and a potential rematch with one or both of these teams depending on how things shake out. Rock Chalk!!
Once again the Jayhawks as a team won by forcing the Tigers to live on the perimeter. A perimeter that was well defended and a perimeter where the Tigers would struggle all afternoon long. Missouri lacks an inside presence plain and simple. Take away Justin Safford and the weakness is amplified. Steven Moore, is not the answer. 45 rebounds to 28 in favor of Kansas. 22 three pointers attempted by the Tigers, and just 10 fouls all game long by Kansas. All in all this was a pretty clean game, but the lack of fouls called on Kansas and the subsequent lack of trips to the line by Missouri is a reflection on their unwillingness or inability to get into the lane against the Jayhawks.
Taking a look at the four factors to winning it isn't hard to see why Kansas won and won easily. The only area the Tigers beat Kansas was in turnover percentage. Not surprising considering that's the Tigers game and Kansas as a team isn't particularly great in taking care of the basketball. The difference between this year's Missouri and last is that they don't convert as many points off turnovers and part of that has to be attributed to the Kansas defense as well.
On the individual performance front it's pretty easy to see that this game had ZERO to do with individual performances. This was a Kansas full team effort. Extremely balanced, well played and everyone getting in on the action. Anytime this season where we've seen this level of balance with Kansas, it's been a blowout.
Despite the balance, there are a few performances worth highlighting. Tyshawn Taylor finished the afternoon with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. Taylor was huge in this one and I'd go as far to say that there is virtually zero chance of Kansas losing a basketball game if Taylor can have as well rounded a performance as he did against the Tigers.
The Morri, that's right we're combining them tonight. Markieff is working his way into the conversation as a consistent player of the bench that really doesn't present the dropoff in performance that we used to see between these two. Against Missouri, the Morri combined for 18 points and 15 boards and another big time double double from the four spot.
All in all not much more needs to be said, Kansas went out handled business and slapped Missouri back to reality. Kansas is on another level than any other Big 12 team this season and this seasons Big 12 is considered the deepest the league has ever been. 15-1 in the conference and an outright conference title by a FOUR GAME margin. This is a big time, well prepared team and if they can avoid a let down they should be looking at a Final Four trip to Indy.
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