Saturday's game against Oklahoma State turned out to be too close for comfort for many Jayhawk fans, but at the end of the day Kansas sits alone atop the Big 12 standings and three of their biggest challengers are 2 or more games back. In fact, Kansas State sits second in the conference with a 4-1 record, but they have yet to get into the meat of their road schedule which is turning into the deciding factor for this league early.
Kansas has quality road wins over Oklahoma and Iowa State. They have home wins over Oklahoma State and Kansas State. Tonight they get a chance to effectively bury a Baylor team that has dropped three in league play early and with a win Kansas will hold wins over the five teams that were the most likely hurdles in the Jayhawks journey toward a 10th straight Big 12 title.
The start of Big 12 play couldn't have gone any better for Kansas. The Jayhawks traveled to Norman for what felt like a must win game after the San Diego State loss, Kansas passed the test and it's a test that looks more difficult in hindsight as the Sooners continue to build on their early season success and move up the ladder in college basketball.
During the same stretch Iowa State and Baylor have both dropped three games, Oklahoma State lost one on the road to Kansas State and the Jayhawks dominated Kansas State at home. It's a long season, but with a win tonight Kansas will have negotiated five teams that were either ranked or are now ranked. This makes up the toughest stretch on the Big 12 schedule for Kansas and while there aren't all that many 'gimmes' on the board this year, it will be a huge confidence boost and a tremendous step toward the league crown.
Now college basketball teams almost always seem to have that slump or fall into a funk so Kansas will lose games, but if this talented group of young players can take their lumps and continue to build on the early league momentum, they could be in very good shape come March. It's a long journey, but the last two weeks have been fun. Hopefully that continues tonight.