While the Kansas University men's basketball team is consistently one of the top teams in the nation, they appear to have an extremely special team this year. The Big 12 is one of the toughest conferences in college basketball, but the Kansas Jayhawks are making winning look easy at the moment. After a narrow four-point road win against the Iowa State Cyclones, the Jayhawks have now won their last 17 games. This long winning streak helped Kansas get named the second-best team in the nation in the latest AP rankings.
The Kansas Jayhawks have yet to lose a game in regulation this season. Their only loss came in the opening game of the year, but it took overtime for the Indiana Hoosiers to get a 103-99 win over the Jayhawks. Kansas has been able to go on the impressive 17-game winning streak by playing great team basketball. Frank Mason III may be the best player on the team, but he is never going to play selfish basketball. He takes as much pride in making a great pass as he does hitting a key shot. The rest of the team has followed in Frank's footsteps, which is why the Kansas Jayhawks are one of the best passing, shooting, rebounding and defensive teams in the nation.
While the Jayhawks look nearly invincible at the moment, they have an extremely tough schedule the rest of the season. The toughest stretch of the season will come next week when Kansas has to face three of the 10 best teams in country over a nine-day span. The first roadblock for the Jayhawks will come on January 24 when they go on the road to play the West Virginia Mountaineers. The pressure defense of West Virginia can wreck havoc on the best offenses in college basketball. If Kansas does not take care of the basketball, then they are going to have a hard time pulling off the big win on the road.
Four days after playing the Mountaineers, the Jayhawks will go on the road to face the Kentucky Wildcats. While Kentucky is a better team than West Virginia, this actually may be an easier game for Kansas. They just have to make sure not to lose their focus because this is a non-conference game. Four days after the Kentucky game, Kansas will get to return home to play the Baylor Bears in a key conference game. Baylor spent most of the season skyrocketing up the rankings to the top ranked team in the nation before losing to West Virginia last week. If Kansas can find a way to score on the suffocating Baylor defense, then they should be able to pull off the win.
The long winning streak seems likely to end in the next few weeks, but the Kansas Jayhawks are more focused on winning their 13th straight Big 12 regular season title. No matter what happens the rest of the season, the Jayhawks have already proved they are ready to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament this March.