Kansas Jayhawks Basketball Handles Aggies: Sets Sights on Border War Matchup

Sean ClairCorrespondent IFebruary 23, 2012

COLUMBIA, MO - FEBRUARY 04:    Thomas Robinson #0 of the Kansas Jayhawks grabs a rebound from Kim English #24 of the Missouri Tigers during the first half at Mizzou Arena on February 4, 2012 in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Kansas defeated Texas A&M 66-58 Wednesday night, in a somewhat ugly game. 

The Jayhawks got off to a fast start leading by as many as 18 points midway through the second half. However, give the Aggies credit. They made a strong comeback to make it close.

Kansas struggled on offense for most of the night, as Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor combined for only 22 points on 7-20 shooting from the field. Elijah Johnson picked up the slack by scoring 21 points on 7-11 shooting from the field.

However, the defense was good once again. The Aggies shot only 38 percent from the field and were held to 58 points.

Bill Self is proving, once again, why he is one of the top coaches in the country. I'm not sure to many people were expecting this kind of season from the Jayhawks, as many thought that maybe their Big 12 reign would end this season. 

The Jayhawks have only lost five games, and three of those have been to top 10 teams (Kentucky, Duke and Missouri).

They rank in the top 20 in both field goal percentage (48.3 percent) and opponents field goal percentage (38 percent), one of only five teams in the nation who can say that.

Robinson, who is right in thick of player of the year consideration, leads the team in scoring (17.4) and rebounds (11.9), and has been showing all year his multitude of skills after backing up the Morris twins last year.

Taylor has established himself as one of the better point guards in the country—especially when he keeps his turnovers down. He has also turned it on in conference play leading to more success for the team.

COLUMBIA, MO - FEBRUARY 04:   Marcus Denmon #12 of the Missouri Tigers takes a shot over Conner Teahan #2 of the Kansas Jayhawks during the second  half at Mizzou Arena on February 4, 2012 in Columbia, Missouri. Missouri won 74-71.  (Photo by Ed Zurga/Get
Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Maybe the biggest surprise is the development of Jeff Withey inside. He leads the Big 12 in blocks with 3.4 a game, and steadily continues improving his offensive game. 

This is also all being done without their top 2011 recruit, Ben McLemore, who was lost for the entire season due to academic issues.

The last time the Jayhawks lost was at Missouri 74-71, and the game was in an instant classic.

It was back and forth throughout, but it looked as though Kansas had it wrapped up at the three minute mark with an eight point lead. 

However, Marcus Denmon brought the Tigers back scoring nine points in the final two minutes to complete the comeback.

Robinson and Taylor led the Jayhawks with 25 and 21 points respectively. The big issue was the performance of Withey who scored zero points and grabbed only four boards in 23 minutes.

This could potentially be the last meeting between the two schools—if one or both don't make the Big 12 tournament championship game—for a while, if a non-conference matchup isn't made for coming seasons, as the Tigers head to the SEC.

Expect it to be another good game, but with so much on the line for Kansas, (a potential number one seed and another Big 12 regular season title) I can't see them losing.

As they say, the Big 12 title runs through Lawrence, Kansas.