Kansas Basketball: Tyshawn Taylor Is X-Factor for Jayhawks to Sail Deep in March

Matthew StoneContributor IIJanuary 17, 2012

TULSA, OK - MARCH 20:  Tyshawn Taylor #10 of the Kansas Jayhawks jogs off the court after defeating the Illinois Fighting Illini 59-73 in the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at BOK Center on March 20, 2011 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

If you ask any Kansas Jayhawk basketball fans about Tyshawn Taylor, they sigh and prepare for the 20-minute long talk about how talented he is—yet he always does something idiotic on or off the court. However, Taylor was at his best Monday night, scoring 28 points and helping Kansas hand the Baylor Bears their first defeat of the season. I firmly believe that Taylor is the X-factor for this team for the remainder of the season.

The senior from New Jersey has had a whirlwind of a career at Kansas. Taylor was suspended in February of his sophomore campaign for undisclosed reasons and drew scrutiny from Jayhawk fans who felt he was a detriment to the program.

After losing to Davidson College earlier this season, many people counted out Kansas as a contender nationally. The Jayhawks have since rebounded and are likely to creep into the top five after their blowout win at home against Baylor.

Taylor is the key for this team to make a run come tourney time. Thomas Robinson is the unquestioned leader of this team, but it will be Taylor's play that decides how far this team can go.

The ceiling for this team is sky-high as evidenced by their play last night. How Taylor handles the pressure in March will be key. Will Kansas fall early in the tournament like recent years or can Kansas say, " Rock Chalk Championship" like they did in 2008?