College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, February 22, 2010
With their 81-68 victory over Oklahoma, the Kansas Jayhawks clinched at least a share of the Big 12 regular season championship Monday night.
As Kansas has rolled to a 13-0 record in the conference, they've built a 3 1/2 game lead over their nearest rival, which just so happens to be neighboring Kansas State, ranked #6 in the nation with a 22-4 record and a 9-3 mark in the Big 12. Kansas will host the Wildcats on March 3, in a game which all but likely will determine the conference champion. That pivotal match-up is sandwiched by a pair of road games for the Jayhawks - at Oklahoma St. this Saturday and against arch-rival Missouri on March 6, also a Saturday.
The #1 ranked team in the nation, Kansas will be tested over the final three-game stretch preceding the Big 12 tourney.
With every win, the Jayhawks continue to tweak their offense, lately calling on freshman forward Xavier Henry to pick up more of the scoring load. Henry has responded well, scoring in double figures in each of his last five games. After scoring 24 in Saturday's win over Colorado, Henry hit the mark on 9 of 13 shots Monday night, including 2 of 4 3-pointers for a game-high 23 points. He also added five rebounds as Kansas improved to 27-1 overall.
Notable: The UConn Huskies are on the bubble, but they took a big step forward Monday with a solid 72-63 win over #8 West Virginia. Tall and talented, the Huskies cannot be counted out before the Big East tournament. They are as capable a team as can be found in the Big East, and could spring more upsets, setting up a mid-range seeding in the NCAA tourney. At 17-11 and 7-8 in the Big East, Connecticut faces Louisville, Notre Dame and South Florida in their final three regular season games, and they are all winnable.