When you talk about recent rivals in Kansas basketball from the perspective of teams that consistently compete for the Big 12 crown, you're talking about Texas.
Yes geographically speaking Kansas has two fairly bitter rivals in Missouri and Kansas State. Yes Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas A&M and others have at times been in contention for the league championship. But when you look back, especially during Bill Self's tenure, its one team and one program that has been there the most and that's the Texas Longhorns.
The Jayhawks and Longhorns begin a home and home twice a year schedule next year, but in the past the one meeting between these two teams every year has often been a high stakes contest. Saturday is no different. Today we look back at some of the best contests between these two programs since the creation of the Big 12.
First and foremost this is not a particularly balance series when you just look at it on paper. Kansas is 17-6 all time against Texas, the Jayhawks have also won three straight and six of the last seven in the series. Actually it's hard to believe it could look that one sided as off the top of my head I can think of three games that I have watched and been absolutely captivated by how great of a game it was. This is one of those situations where maybe the "score" doesn't tell the full story.
Within that 17-6 is a 13-5 record since the two joined the Big 12. Kansas is undefeated in Allen Fieldhouse against the Longhorns, 10-4 in the regular season and 3-1 in Big 12 championship games. The two teams have met head to head in three of the last five Big 12 title games with Kansas winning all three, the most recent in 2006.
Kansas competes with Texas on the court, Kansas competes with Texas on the recruiting trail and Kansas vs Texas has turned into a nice little rivalry on the Big 12 basketball landscape since Rick Barnes and Bill Self have been at their respective positions.
Kansas vs. Texas - Allen Fieldhouse - Big Monday January 18th, 1999
Picking a starting point is tough. Many would maybe point a little further down the line but for me it was the year before I enrolled at Kansas that signaled the beginning of this one. I don't think anyone necessarily knew that Rick Barnes would be able to churn out the consistency that he has, but this was the start.
Many might refer to this time as a bit of a dark age for Kansas. The Jayhawks were stuck between the Jacque Vaughn crew and the beginnings of Nick Collison, Drew Gooden and Kirk Hinrich. For this matchup the Jayhawks were led by Jeff Boschee, Ryan Robertson, Eric Chenowith and Nick Bradford. The Longhorns roster included Chris Mihm, Ivan Wagner, Kris Clack and Gabe Muoneke.
At the time of the game Kansas was actually the ranked team of the two at #19 while Texas was still unranked. By then end of the season Texas would win the Big 12 outright with a 13-3 record.
It's funny the different paths players and teams can take. This is Eric Chenowiths sophomore year, his best year, and at the time it looked like the Chenowith v Mihm battle was going to grow into something special. Kansas was led by Chenowith in this one as he scored 20 points and grabbed 13 winning the battle against Mihm who added 14 and 11 for Texas. The Jayhawks would win 76-67. Mihm would go on to dominate college basketball a year later and we all know what would happen with Chenowith. Good game in what would end up being a quality win for Kansas.
Kansas vs. Texas - Frank Erwin Center - Monday February 11th, 2002
After both teams go through a bit of a slip followed by a rebuilding, 2002 brings about a pretty epic battle between the two teams in Austin.
Now granted this one wasn't for all the marbles as Texas did finish tied for 3rd in the Big 12 and had already dropped a handful of games, but it did feature some big names and an overtime.
Kansas was led by Drew Gooden who went for 28 and 7, but across the board there were some great games. Jeff Boschee, 21 points on 6 of 13 from beyond the arc. Wayne Simien with 17 points and 10 boards off the bench. Nick Collison with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Aaron Miles with 10 points and 13 assists!
Moving to the Texas side you have TJ Ford scoring 16 points and dishing out 11 assists. James Thomas with 16 points 12 boards. Brandon Mouton leading the way with 25. Brian Boddicker and Royal Ivey adding 19 and 16 respectively.
This was like an NBA game with both teams scoring 96 in regulation before heading to overtime. In overtime Kansas would win the extra 5 minutes by a score of 14-7 leading to a final score of 110-103. The makeup of these two teams in this matchup just lends itself to an all out up and down shootout and it was fun to watch.
Kansas vs. Texas - Allen Fieldhouse - Monday January 27th, 2003
I can't believe I missed this one in the first go around, one of my favorite college memories.
All you need to know here is that Nick Collison single handily carried the Jayhawks to a win over the Longhorns with one of the best single player performances in Kansas history. He was an animal scoring 24 points and grabbing 23 rebounds. It was something to see and the performance drew a standing ovation from ESPN's Dick Vitale.
Final score 90-87. Collison and the Jayhawks beat a team with TJ Ford, James Thomas and Brad Buckman. The Longhorns would make it to the Final Four, as would Kansas. Great game, HUGE day for Collison.
Kansas vs. Texas - Frank Erwin Center - Saturday February 25th, 2006
This particularly game wasn't a great one for Kansas, but it sets up a big matchup in the Big 12 championship. A young group for Kansas including Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush, Russell Robinson, Julian Wright, Sasha Kaun and Darnell Jackson walked into this one as 7 point underdogs. The result? A 25 point loss.
PJ Tucker, Brad Buckman, LeMarcus Aldridge and AJ Abrams led the way for a Longhorn team that would run away from a young Kansas group. Aldridge was the marquee player in college basketball during the '05-'06 season and these two teams would split the regular season title before meeting again in the Big 12 championship game.
In this game Texas shot over 55% from the field, outrebounded Kansas 36-19 and beat the Jayhawks in nearly every major statistical category which resulted in the impressive win. This game probably was the spark to the rivalry that would really prosper during the Chalmers, Rush, Kaun and Jackson era at Kansas.
Kansas vs. Texas - American Airlines Arena - Sunday March 12th, 2006
The Big 12 tournament in Dallas. Kansas travels well just about anywhere, but when you put the Longhorns practically in their backyard you get a pretty even crowd on a championship Sunday in March. Kansas walked into this one just over a 3 point underdog which comes as a bit of a surprise considering the dismantling during the regular season.
In the end Jayhawk fans were the recipients of a nice late season treat. Kansas locked down Texas defensively forcing 16 turnovers on 10 steals and held the Longhorns to just 40% from the field. Kansas made major headway in the rebounding column pulling almost even against Texas after falling well short during the regular season.
From an individual standpoint Kansas held LeMarcus Aldridge to just 5 points and 5 rebounds on the day while Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers, Russell Robinson, Julian Wright and Jeff Hawkins all scored in double figures.
Kansas would win this one outscoring the Lonhorns 17-5 over the final five minutes. Final score 80-68.
Kansas vs. Texas - Allen Fieldhouse - Saturday March 3rd 2007
It's the Kevin Durant era at Texas and two of the best Kansas v Texas games ever. The first takes place at the tail end of the regular season with Kansas sitting at #3 in the nation and Texas at #15.
The Longhorns absolutely exploded out of the gate building a 16 point lead with 3 minutes to go in the first half. Kevin Durant was unconscious from deep and would finish the game with 32 points including a 6 for 8 shooting day from beyond the arc.
What made this game so good however, is that Kansas made the comeback. The Jayhawks were led by Mario Chalmers, Russel Robinson, Brandon Rush and Julian Wright who each scored in double figures. It was a well played, clean game but Kansas did a better job of attacking the basket and getting to the free throw line in this one.
Kansas would eventually build to a 10 point lead with 5 minutes to go before Texas made this one a close scare at 90-86.
Kansas vs. Texas - Ford Center - Sunday March 11th, 2007
Just over a week after an incredible regular season matchup, these two teams meet again in the Big 12 championship game and it didn't disappoint for a second.
Just like in Lawrence, Texas jumped out to a fast start. Once again it was Kevin Durant leading the charge ultimately ending this game with an incredible 37 points and 10 rebounds. This time the Longhorns were able to push the lead to 19 before Kansas would find a way back in.
This game wasn't nearly as pretty a performance by either side as both struggled from the field, both turned the ball over a little more and neither team would score with the same ease that they had a week earlier. Nonetheless Kansas would get key contributions once again from Mario Chalmers and Brandon Rush down the stretch and Sherron Collins would emerge in a big way leading the Jayhawks with 20 points in this one.
A back and forth thrilling game from about the eight minute mark on led to a final score with Kansas winning 88-84. That would be the end of the Kevin Durant era of this rivalry, but in the two games he never disappointed. Fortunately for Kansas they had the better team.
Kansas vs. Texas - Frank Erwin Center - Monday February 11th 2008
Kevin Durant departs and so emerges a new cast for the Longhorns. DJ Augustin, AJ Abrams, Conner Atchley and Damion James will all be familiar names to Kansas fans. And of course this is the Jayhawk National Championship team that needs no introduction.
This game turned decidedly more defensive than the two matchups a year prior with a back and forth fairly even game throughout the night. Texas came into the game at #11 while Kansas sat #3. The line favored Texas by five.
The game was back and forth all night long as Kansas was paced by a Texas native Darrell Arthur who scored 22 points on 10 of 16 shooting. For Texas it was a balanced performance with Damion James leading the way to the tune of 14 points and 13 rebounds.
After taking a 59-57 lead around the 7 minute mark Texas would never look back. The Jayhawks kept it close but couldn't overcome the deficit and the final score in this one was 72-69.
Kansas vs. Texas - Sprint Center - Sunday March 16th, 2008
And now, the rematch. Kansas and Texas split the regular season title during the season and headed into this one were ranked #1 and #2 in the country.
For Kansas this was one of those games where things were clicking on offense and defense throughout. For Texas, it was a balanced team and big time players stepping up and making plays when they needed it. The first half was a shootout with Texas taking a 1 point lead 46-45 into halftime.
The second half, Kansas pulled away. Led by Mario Chalmers who would score 30 points on an impressive 8-12 from beyond the arc, Kansas overtook the Longhorn lead at the 4:42 mark and never looked back. Brandon Rush added 19, but Chalmers was the story of the day and eventually the story of the year for Kansas.
The Longhorns received a 20 point 9 assist contribution from DJ Augustin but it just wasn't enough on the day. Texas finished the season in the Elite 8, while Kansas would go on to a National title.
After 2008 this one took a bit of a backseat. Kansas surprisingly has gone on to six straight conference titles, while Rick Barnes has experienced a little in the way of growing pains finishing 4th and 6th in the previous two years of Big 12 play.
It appears the Longhorns are back and ready to make some noise in 2011. Kansas and Texas sit tied atop the Big 12 standings and the Longhorns are coming to town. Could it mark the renewal of this rivalry?