Wednesday, January 23, 2013
During the second half, it appeared that the Jayhawks were going to put the Wildcats away for good thanks to Ben McLemore. The redshirt freshman, who will be an early in pick in next year’s draft, scored five consecutive points to give Kansas a 10 point lead. However, KState got an answer from Shane Southwell, who hit consecutive three pointers to keep the Wildcats close. Southwell, who had a career high 19 points, also got KSU within three late, however KU closed the game out at the free throw line.
The 59 points were a season low for Kansas, and concerns about the team’s offense continue to grow. Kansas is averaging only 61 points per game in its last four contests, relying on its stout defense to grind out wins. While KU’s defense will keep them in every game, Bill Self will have to address the offense and try to get better play out of senior point guard Elijah Johnson, who has struggled mightily in conference play.
On paper, this is the toughest regular season game the Jayhawks had remaining, and the win now makes them heavy favorites to claim a ninth-straight Big 12 title. KU will face Oklahoma at home on Saturday, which should provide the team with another tough test. The Sooners are 4-1 in conference play this season, including impressive recent wins over Oklahoma State and Texas.
KState will have to regroup quickly, as they travel to Ames on Saturday to face Iowa State, who also only has one loss in conference play – which came in overtime in Lawrence against Kansas.
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Sunday, January 30, 2011
On the day the state of Kansas turned 150, it seemed fitting that KU and KState would battle in Lawrence with ESPN's College Game Day in town. Before the season started, this looked like a potential top 10 or even top 5 matchup. However, KState has not lived up to its lofty preseason ranking, which took a lot of hype out of the Sunflower Showdown.
KState had no answer for the Jayhawks, getting absolutely manhandled by KU, 90-66. KU jumped out to a 15-2 lead and never looked back, relying on its superior post play to turn the game into a layup line. KState couldn't buy a basket, and never got within striking distance. Just two days after burying his mother, Thomas Robinson had a monster game, scoring 17 points and grabbing nine rebounds in an inspired effort to help lead the Jayhawks.
KU was one week off losing its ridiculous 69 home court winning streak at the hands of Texas, and looked inspired, focused and hungry. The Jayhawks were distracted against the Longhorns (the team found out about Lisa Robinson's passing the night before the game), and fell apart against a dangerous Texas squad. The win on saturday was a reminder that the Big 12 title still runs through Lawrence, and that KU will once again be a factor in league play and beyond.
For KState, the loss seemed fitting given how the season has gone. The Wildcats were picked to win the Big 12 and found themselves at third in the preseason top 25 poll. KState has now dropped five Big 12 games and seems headed for the NIT at best. Leadership problems, a stagnant offense and a tough Big 12 have lead to KState's nosedive. Frank Martin has failed to build a program like Bill Self or Mike Anderson at Missouri, and with no high-impact recruits and next year's tougher Big 12 schedule, the future looks cloudy at the moment in Manhattan.
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