Tuesday, February 09, 2010

KU Slugs Texas, Closes in on Big 12 Title

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, February 9, 2010

As many expected, the Kansas Jayhawks emerged from their visit to Texas Monday as clearly the class of the Big 12, corralling the Longhorns with a no-contest, 80-68 decision.

While the match-up was endlessly hyped on ESPN as part of "Rivalry Week," what occurred on the court was something closer to a victory lap for Kansas and confirmation that Texas may not even be Top 25 material.

The Jawhawks continued their march through the otherwise-competitive Big 12 with their 9th straight win without a loss. Since their closest pursuers are Kansas State and Texas A&M, both 6-3, Kansas should be able to lay claim to the regular season title either on Feb. 20 or 22, when they host Colorado and Oklahoma, respectively, maybe sooner.

As for the Longhorns, now losers of 4 of their last 6 conference games, their focus is likely to be on getting a couple more wins in the conference, finding another scorer besides Damion James (24 points), and hoping to get seeded something along the lines of an 8 or 9 in the NCAA tournament. Of course, there are still 7 or 8 games left in the conference schedule and the Big 12 tournament, but this Texas team has the look of a one-and-done unit when crunch time comes.

Kansas improved to 23-1 overall and will likely remain in the top spot on the AP Poll, which kept them there for the second straight week. The most recent poll was released just prior to their game with the Longhorns.

Marcus Morris again proved to be one of the most complete players in the country, scorching Texas for 18 points and 8 rebounds. Following a 1-point performance in a 71-66 win against Cornell and a 5-point game in Kansas' only loss, at Tennessee, 76-68, Morris has stepped up his game in conference action, averaging 17.8 points and 8.4 boards.

Kansas appears headed for a #1 tourney seed, almost certainly in the MidWest region.

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