Had Kansas just defeated TCU on the road - even in ugly fashion - their path to a 9th straight Big 12 title would be fairly straightforward, and they would probably still be a 2 seed come March. But while that TCU game did a lot of damage to their profile, there can be little doubt that Kansas has rediscovered its confidence and showed so in spades in their last two home games, the latest being a 73-47 demolition of Texas.
Defensively, Kansas was otherworldly. They held Texas to .7 points per possession, 29.4% from two, and 9.5% from three. Myck Kabongo, who with a better supporting cast would probably be the best point guard in the league, was just 2-10 from the field, had 0 assists, and 3 turnovers. Ioannis Papapetrou, to whom Kansas offered a scholarship, was hounded by Travis Releford all night and went 2-7 from the field. Texas's best offense came from putbacks, with Demarcus Holland and Conner Lammert each grabbing 4 offensive boards and grabbing roughly 40% of their misses as a whole.
That's not to take credit from the Kansas offense though. Texas currently leads the nation in eFG allowed (40.5%), yet allowed a 52.5% eFG to the Jayhawks. Kansas shot 50% from two and nearly 40% from three, and all of that was without an otherworldly game from Ben McLemore. If Kansas can score almost 1.1 points per trip without McLemore going crazy against one of the best defenses in the country, it bodes very well going forward for the Jayhawks.
We haven't seen them on the road since their three game losing streak, but after destroying two pretty good teams, I feel more confident going into Wednesday's showdown in Stillwater than I did for their trip to Allen Fieldhouse
- Congratulations to Jeff Withey who now has blocked more shots in Big 12 history than anyone else. Pretty impressive for a guy who barely saw the floor in his first year at Kansas. He went from that to the best shot blocker in the country last year and probably the best defensive weapon in the country this year. He had a double double on Saturday as well, with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
- Travis Releford was 4-5 from three, had 5 rebounds, 3 assists and no turnovers. That is good for an offensive rating of 205 for the game, for the record. He is now shooting 46.2% from three on the season and is 3rd in true shooting percentage.
- Ben McLemore took only 9 shots, but showed off more of an all around game, grabbing 6 rebounds and dishing out 3 assists. He added a steal, a block and oh yeah this dunk.
- Elijah Johnson had his best game in a long time. He made just 1 of 4 threes, but was 4-6 from two. Not only did he get into the lane seemingly whenever he wanted to, he showed off a finishing ability we haven't seen in a long time. He also had 4 assists and his only turnover was when he slipped and fell with no one around him. He doesn't have to be great, but if Johnson plays like that in March the team's ceiling goes back up a notch.