Heading into this game Kansas was an underdog on their home court for the first time since the 1980's according to some estimates. It was only a 2.5 point margin, but the Jayhawks were still the underdog in a #13 vs. #2 matchup.
Then of course came the news that Ohio State super sophomore Jared Sullinger would not play. The matchup within the matchup of Thomas Robinson vs. Sullinger would not take place and if you rally relooked at this one, Kansas might have been slightly favored heading into the matchup due to the late scratch. But at the end of the day this one is an upset on paper for a Kansas team that has already played no. 1 Kentucky and no. 5 Duke early on this season and finally found a way to break through.
With no. 2 Ohio State in town Kansas took advantage of an energized crowd and a hot shooting night from Elijah Johnson and the rest of the Jayhawk team to take an early lead in this one. Take away the turnovers and Kansas could have really capitalized on the hot start but as it stood the Jayhawks held Ohio State at arms length for most of the contest.
The Buckeyes definitely have the look of a talented team and they obviously have the pieces to be a contender, but without Sullinger and on the road for the first time all season it all proved just a bit too much to overcome.
For Kansas the guard play was crucial. While Thomas Robinson struggled to get going Elijah Johnson was shooting lights out from beyond the arc and Tyshawn Taylor was an assist machine despite drawing more attention for his turnovers most of the time. On the interior Kevin Young stepped in and provided an eighth man in the Kansas rotation with his best game all year.
Kansas just always seemed to have an answer. Ohio State would pull it to six, Kansas would push it to 12. Ohio State would fight back to within five, Kansas would push it to 11. It was a good win and a nice confidence builder for Bill Self and Kansas. This team still needs to continue to develop but if they can clean things up as the season goes on, they'll be a fun team to watch during Big 12 play and a potentially dangerous team come March.
Kansas wins this one by a final score of 78-67. Thomas Robinson would ultimately get things going in the second half and lead the team in scoring with 21. Elijah Johnson would add 15, while Kevin Young would contribute 14 off the bench.