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Back-to-Back Big 12 Bangers: Kansas Faces Two Ranked Conference Matchups in 48 Hours

If you were watching college basketball on Saturday, chances are you probably saw the KU/Baylor matchup. A historic comeback, the Jayhawks fell behind by 17 with just a few minutes before the half, only to turn it around at halftime and command a win by 16. The rally was helped by finally grabbing rebounds, not letting any Baylor shooters have the time of day, and by making every offensive possession mean something. A full-team effort led to a great team win over a Baylor program that beat these Jayhawks by 6 in Waco. January proved to be a rough go for these Jayhawks, but after a few convincing wins the Jayhawks are right back at the top of the Big 12, tied with Texas going into the final stretch of regular season play.

This being said, the challenge is certainly not over, and there are still plenty of difficult games on the schedule for the Hawks. This is the Big 12, which as many of us know is a complete powerhouse top to bottom, and the Jayhawks have one of the toughest schedules in the entire NCAA. The challenge is never over, but it is certainly not made any easier by having yet another ranked matchup 2 days after this past one on Saturday. Tonight, the Jayhawks are in Fort Worth taking on TCU, who many analysts say is the toughest matchup for the Jayhawks. Great post play, shooters all around, and physical play that capitalizes on drawn fouls and turnover transitions. Very similar to how the Jayhawks have been playing as of recent, however TCU has an older, more experienced roster, and a bigger roster at that. The Jayhawks will need to be on their A-game if they are to beat this TCU team, a fully healthy TCU team that when fully healthy, dominated the Jayhawks in Allen Fieldhouse, beating them by 23. This is a different Jayhawk team though, however, a team that has benefitted from much awaited for bench play, better shot selections, limiting turnovers, and capitalizing off transition. The team in January was a team that had no chance against a team that matched up so well against them, this team is, and the Jayhawks need to show it tonight.

The main keys are to balance the scoring. Dajuan Harris needs to be productive offensively, as when he is this Jayhawk team wins. Being undefeated this year when he scores more than 3 points shows that. He's not the only one that will need to be productive obviously, but as a point guard he must find the guys that will contribute and give them good opportunities, if of course that is not himself. The perimeter shooting has been hit or miss, so post play will be all important if it is not going to be a hot shooting night for guys like Gradey Dick, Jalen Wilson, Joe Yesufu, and of course, Harris. Ernest Udeh, KJ Adams, Kevin McCullar, and others need to hang tough against one of the best bigs in the country in Eddie Lampkin. A freshly healthy Lampkin is joined by a freshly healthy Mike Miles as well, who has also proven to be a tough matchup against the Jayhawks. This game makes or breaks the Jayhawks' chances at controlling their own destiny for a Big 12 regular season title, and they need to treat it as such. Continue to play their game that they were playing and translate the momentum that you have, if there's any point they should hit a hot streak this is the most opportune time. TCU will be confident because they believe that because they beat Kansas in Allen, they will have a cakewalk against them when at home. It's happened in years before, and it is happening again where teams carry this sense of confidence, one that experienced, great head coaches like Bill Self can exploit. No one is safe in the Big 12 and anybody can beat anyone, and when you have a team that is playing with a chip on their shoulder such as Kansas, that can prove to be very dangerous to the other conference combatants. In a must win game, I will almost always take the Jayhawks, but in the end it all depends on if the Jayhawks can continue to play the game they've been playing, carry that momentum, and play angry that this TCU team has such confidence. Will we see Big Game Bill and Co. win a statement game? Or will we see the wheels fall off much like what we've kind of seen from the other local teams?

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