Kansas claimed it's 6th straight Big 12 conference title with a win over Oklahoma in Lawrence on Monday night, making the Jayhawks only the second team from a major conference since the 70's to do so. The Jayhawks handled business from the outset against the Sooners and while the final score resulted in a 13 point margin, the game never felt in doubt. Six straight for Bill Self and Kansas, three straight senior classes to win every year they've played and one Sherron Collins who now sits atop the Jayhawks all time career wins list as one of the greats.
Once again from the team side of things the Jayhawks were extremely efficient on offense. A big part of that appears to be the result of a half court offense that is taking shape before our eyes. At times early in the season Kansas looked unwilling or unable to manufacture points outside of Sherron and Cole. That doesn't appear to be remotely the case at the moment. When the starting five is one the court the Jayhawks appear to have five options to score and five players willing to take the shot. Players are attacking the basket, converting and more consistently making the entry pass to the bigs for the easy two. It's an eight man rotation and at times it loses a little bit of fire power, but those stretches are diminishing and Kansas looks tough from top to bottom right now with just about any lineup on the court.
15 assists and just 6 turnovers. A pretty efficient game taking care of the basketball. Of course the Jayhawks didn't force a whole lot of mistakes either. However, while Kansas might not be a team that forces you into mistakes over and over, they do make life very difficult for teams as they try to put the ball through the net. Once again an opponent is held well below the 50% mark and the 30% in the first half all but sealed the Sooners fate early on.
Individually the Jayhawks were ever so close to having five players in double figures for a second game in row. It's hard to believe Cole didn't hit the double digit mark but part of the might the fact that his constant activity on the interior leads to the perception that he's scoring more. What did happen once again was Xavier Henry continuing to bust out of his slump. Two or three games ago I commented on his lack of finishing around the basket. Now it appears he's finishing at the rim, from outside and anywhere in between. Henry finished 9 of 13 from the field, 2 of 4 from behind the arc, 3 for 3 from the line, grabbed 5 boards and I'd have to contend his defense looks about as good as it has all year long. In a night where Sherron becomes the winningest player in Kansas history, Xavier Henry showed us why we likely won't see the same longevity from him. Perhaps he got caught up in the hype mid season, or he truly hit a wall. Either way, Xavier Henry appears to be back in the swing of things and if his play continues, Kansas will go very deep in the tournament and Henry could find his way back into the top 10 of the NBA lottery.
Other big individual performances on the night include 10 points and 7 rebounds from Marcus Morris in what was a quiet but productive night for the Sophomore big man.
Sherron contributing 17 points and 6 assists which is a great thing to see. With Sherron's ability to get to the basket and attack defenses he can be just as valuable as a passer as he can a scorer.
Tyshawn Taylor dropped in 11 in his second consecutive start, and as mentioned before, Cole controlled the paint with 12 boards, 2 blocks and countless altered shots on the interior. Games like this one and Missouri where Cole can pretty much camp in the lane and keep an entire team from getting to the basket are fun to watch.