With only three games remaining in the regular season, No. 2 Kansas hosted Texas Tech in Allen Fieldhouse with the chance to secure at least a share of its incredible, 12th straight conference championship.
With two games remaining at home, and the last being against Iowa State, it would have been in KU’s best interest to make sure they locked up at least a share against an inferior–although vastly improved–Texas Tech.
The game was sluggish from the start and neither team seemed capable of lighting up the scoreboard, but the Jayhawks came out with one of its best defensive performances of the season, particularly its first-shot defense. The Red Raiders had multiple shot-clock violations in the first half and were trying to get into their offensive sets closer to half court than they were closer to the rim.
Offensively, the Jayhawks had their own struggles. Senior forward Perry Ellis and junior guard Wayne Selden, Jr., were almost non-existent for Bill Self.
With the two leaders struggling, Self went to his bench early and often. Sophomore Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk lit the scoreboard on fire, scoring 17 points for the game and hitting all 5 of his three-pointers including a remarkable last-second shot to end the first half.
Point guard Frank Mason III was also highly engaged and feeling it on the offensive end. His 16 points and constant attack-mode kept the Red Raiders at bay.
As Self stated after the game, however, the Jayhawks have been playing so well in winning 9 games in a row, that they have reached what he called a, “semi-phase,” of thinking they can turn on the switch whenever they want. That mentality was evident after leading Tech by 20 midway through the second half, then allowing them to get within 8 down the stretch. The game was never in doubt, but the simple fact that Kansas went into cruise control with time left on the clock is something Self and his staff will have to combat, especially now that they have locked up another league title with two games to go.
Assuming the Jayhawks go at least 1-1 in its last two games, play well in the Big 12 tournament, they are all but locked into a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. With two difficult opponents to go to finish out the regular season, staying focused on winning the title outright is the key for KU.
Self made it clear after Saturday’s win that his team has plenty of more work to do before the season is truly over, and since he has been at Kansas, he has continuously stressed that sharing the conference crown isn’t something his team should be satisfied with.
KU has one home game left this season with Iowa State coming to town for senior night. It’s likely the athletic department will have something planned to recognize long-time broadcaster, Bob Davis, as he is hanging up the headset after this season and retiring after an incredible run as the voice of the Jayhawks. With Iowa State coming in as a top 25 team and one capable of beating KU, it’ll be an intense finale to the regular season in Allen Fieldhouse. Tickets For Less has a variety of seats available for next Saturday’s game. With zero hidden service fees, what you see is what you get on all ticket purchases. Don’t miss your last chance to see the Jayhawks in Allen Fieldhouse this season!