The win vaults Kansas back into a first place tie in the Big 12, after a being pushed out just a few days earlier by their three game losing streak.
Tomorrow the Jayhawks welcome the Texas Longhorns, who they beat earlier, 64-59, this season in Austin, Tx. However, it was not an easy win and was really one of the games that started Kansas’ poor offensive play.
Not only will the Jayhawks have to deal with Texas’ defense, which is one of the tops in the nation, but they recently added sophomore guard Myck Kabongo, who was suspended 23-games by the NCAA for rules violations.
Even Kansas head coach Bill Self recognizes that “Kabongo definitely makes a difference from a speed standpoint.”
Nevetheless, the Jayhawks will receive some added help too on Saturday.
First, they have some added confidence because of that win against Kansas State, but more importantly because they played well on both ends of the court, especially the offensive end where they had been struggling mightily.
Secondly, ESPN College Gameday comes to Lawrence, Ks. so that will only add to the excitement of the Jayhawk student body. Self commented that “It’s great. It’s an infomercial for your school for 12 hours, or whatever it is, maybe 14 hours. Our fans always do a great job of showing up for that.” Self added, “It definitely creates some excitement around here.”
Lastly, the Jayhawks are retiring Mario Chalmers’ jersey on Saturday. Chalmers had a stellar career for Self and hit the game-tying three-point shot to force the 2008 National Championship to overtime, which Kansas eventually won.
Even better timing for the Jayhawks is that it is NBA All-Star Weekend and many former Jayhawks will be in Phog Allen Fieldhouse to support their alma mater.
These boosts will be the difference in Kansas maintaining a hold on the Big 12 regular season title.
Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo