Breath easy, actually that was pretty much a snoozer. College basketball's Saturday action as a whole left very little in way of excitement. For their part the Jayhawks breezed through a game with the Colorado Buffaloes barely breaking a sweat for the most part. The big news on the day is that Xavier Henry is finding his way as a player and Tyshawn Taylor's reintroduction to the starting lineup went about as well as could have been expected. 12-0 in the Big 12, a win at home Monday and it would take a three game losing streak for Kansas not to win the conference outright. Almost 2 months ago we talked about winning six straight and the tough battle it was going to be. Strangely enough, it's been one of the easier roads I can remember.
Statistically the only team that the team did that could be viewed as a negative is the 18 turnovers on the afternoon. It's often talked about, but at this point one has to wonder if this group will ever truly take care of the basketball well on a consistent basis. Sometimes you are what you are and that appears to be part of this groups identity dating back to last season.
Enough with the nitpicking though, 22 assists? That's making the extra pass. 40 to 25 edge in the rebounding department and 8 blocks shows a Jayhawk team dominating on the interior. Shooting the ball at a 54% clip overall and 45% clip from beyond the arc shows that Kansas is taking good shots, working through the offense and playing at a level where they likely can't be beaten.
Saturday was the good. At times we've seen the bad, or maybe even the ugly. But between a solid win at Texas, gutting one out at A&M and dominating an inferior opponent on Saturday, Kansas is slowly looking the part of a team putting things together and finding an identity.
Individually it was noted in the game thread and I'll point it out again. 5 players in double figures for the Jayhawks and it's hard to imagine a scenario where the Jayhawks have that kind of balance against anybody and still lose. The best news of the day however was in the 2 leaders in the point column. Xavier Henry put in 24 points on the afternoon and he continues to do it in ways besides settling for the jumper. Overall Henry was over 50% from the field and while he did knock in 4 threes, he was hardly a one trick pony.
For Taylor Saturday was all about proving Coach Self right. Somewhat a surprise to many Taylor was given the starting nod this week and from the sounds of things it's a pretty permanent deal. Without a doubt Kansas is more dangerous with Taylor on the court, especially if he's playing to his capability. Saturday Taylor added 17 points on 6 of 7 shooting, including 1 for 1 from behind the arc. Taylor also shot a perfect 4 for 4 from the charity stripe and chipped in 6 assists to go with it. I'm sure for Coach Self it was a relief to see, but then again I doubt he'll admit he expected anything less in public.
Oh...lost in the performances of two guys who have had their ups and downs is a guy who has been steady and consistent throughout much of the year. Cole Aldrich finishes with 17 points, 10 boards and 5 blocks once again dominating the middle and his play will continue to give Kansas an edge almost every night. Cole is a game changer underneath, even when he's off he makes life difficult on the defensive end. I know we all talk about missing Sherron, but I don't think anyone is fully grasping how much we might miss Cole when that day comes.
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