This wasn't billed as the same Kansas v Texas matchup that we've grown accustomed to in recent years. Kansas is playing very well at the moment and hasn't seemed to skip a beat after losing a good portion of their rotation from last year's Elite Eight team. On the other hand, Texas had been dealing with a little more in the way of growing pains while trying to replace some lost talent of their own. So rather than Kansas in Austin feeling like the first of two behemoth matchups, the growing rivalry kicked off this new full round robin era with a little less fanfare.
Turns out, downplaying this one was a mistake. It really was an important game for both teams. The reasons were slightly different but it definitely mattered. Texas had a top 10 team in their building and the young Longhorn squad has started to mature having nearly won in Manhattan earlier this week. For Kansas it was an important game in terms of maintaining sole possession of first place in the league, and avoiding a let down on the road after a high energy win over Baylor on Monday.
On the court the game held some positives for Texas as they showed some resiliency to rally on multiple occasions. For Kansas it was one of those grind it out road wins that has helped the Jayhawks to their current streak of seven straight league titles. The Jayhawks did just enough while fending off several pesky Longhorn runs to win on a day where they weren't at their best and Texas put together a very solid effort.
The Longhorns used a strong showing from their bench and a swarming defense that limited Kansas offensively. It really was a game that felt a lot like the Jayhawk loss in Lawrence a year ago. The Jayhawks jump out early, Texas counters and then locks Kansas down defensively in the second half. Fortunately for Kansas they did enough late in the game to squeak out the win by a final score of 69 to 66
The Jayhawks were led once again by Tyshawn Taylor who contributed 22 points in a very clean performance. Thomas Robinson, the other half the Jayhawks leading duo, just missed his 14th double double of the year but contributed a pair of key plays down the stretch. Robinson finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds on the one year anniversary of the passing of his mother.
Kansas now sits at 16-3 with a 6-0 Big 12 record. The Jayhawks like move into the top five this coming week where they'll sit just behind border rival and Big 12 contender Missouri. Bill Self takes his team back to Lawrence for a home game against Texas A&M on Monday night before a return trip to Ames next Saturday where they'll try to dodge a little Hilton Magic.