Kansas Jayhawks Face A Tough Road Test Against The Texas Longhorns


Kansas Jayhawks guard Andrew Wiggins (22) Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas Jayhawks (16-4, 7-0) will take to the road to play the surprising Texas Longhorns (16-4, 5-2) Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. CST.

The Longhorns have been one of the hottest teams in the Big 12 Conference of late. They lost the first two games of conference play to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State but have rattled of 5 wins in a row. They are winning ball games by tightening down on the defensive end of the floor. In their 5 Big 12 wins, they have only allowed more than 70 points one time.

Kansas is one of the hottest teams in the nation right now. Not only have they won all seven of their conference tilts, but they have been victorious in 10 of their last 11 match ups since slumping a bit in late November and early December.

The Jayhawks are winning games on the offensive end, scoring 83 points a game in conference play. Only once have they been held to under 80 (77 against Iowa State on January 14th). The have put up 90 or more thrice, including their last two games.

Kansas’ team scoring is rising with the scoring average of their talented freshman, Andrew Wiggins. In the past three games, Wiggins has scored 73 points, and his average is at 16.5 now.

Kansas Jayhawks guard Wayne Selden, Jr. (1) Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Three other Jayhawks average in double digits, led by Perry Ellis with 13.3. Joel Embiid adds 11.4 points and leads the team with 7.6 rebounds a night, and 54 total blocks. Wayne Selden, Jr. chips in with 10 points a game, and about 3 great hustle plays on outing.

Naadir Tharpe continues to grow into the leadership role for the Jayhawks. Coming off his first career double-double (12 points, 12 assists, 1 turnover), Tharpe is finally realizing just how important he can be to this team, just by taking care of the basketball, and getting the ball in the right hands at the right time. His maturity has been a fun thing to watch. Now, if he could just learn to play defense…

Texas’s top scorer is Jonathan Holmes with 12.9 points. He is second on the Longhorns with 7.4 rebounds. Javan Felix averages 12.2 points, Isaiah Taylor puts up 11.7, and Cameron Ridley nets 11.2, plus leads the team with 7.8 rebounds. Taylor dishes out 3.7 assists a game as well.

The Longhorns have defeated three straight top 25 teams in Iowa State, Kansas State, and Baylor. If they can knock off the Jayhawks to make it four straight, they will match the Kansas accomplishment from a few weeks ago. No team since North Carolina in the 1990’s had defeated 4 straight ranked opponents.

Kansas has had a bit of trouble scoring against good defensive teams, but they are a better squad on offense they were a month ago. They must continue to be efficient against Texas, and limit their turnovers, if they want to beat a confident Longhorn team.

Kansas leads the nation in field goal percentage, hitting 51% of their shots. They cannot afford to drop far below that mark if they hope to win on the road.

It is nice to see a Texas team return to the top half of the Big 12. Kansas and Texas have enjoyed a spirited basketball rivalry over the years, and it is great to have it renewed.

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