As a Missouri fan, this is not exactly a diss against Kansas. I'm just being real. If I offend any KU fans, well, that sucks for you, doesn't it?
The Border War: Round Two was nothing compared to the first meeting, as Kansas put the beatdown on Missouri 90-65 yesterday at home in Lawrence. The win extends Kansas' nation-leading home winning streak to 40. Kansas controls their own destiny as they will try to close out the Big 12 regular season title on the road against Texas Tech and the home finale against Texas.
Before I go any further, realize that Kansas did not have to face Blake Griffin when they beat Oklahoma in Norman to get to this point.
You see where I'm going with this, don't you?
There is no way that Kansas would have been able to beat Oklahoma with a healthy Blake Griffin on the road. Blake Griffin has proved to be the leading candidate for the Naismith Player of the Year award so far this season. Griffin is currently averaging 22 points and 13 rebounds per game (leads the nation) for the No. 5-ranked Sooners.
Kansas was lucky to even come out with a victory as Oklahoma almost made a miraculous comeback to only lose by seven.
Many Kansas fans said that Cole Aldrich would have shut down Griffin like he did Tyler Hansbrough in the Final Four last season. My first reaction was, "Are you crazy?" First of all, Griffin is a different specimen from Hansbrough. They play two different styles of basketball.
Let's look at the "would have been" key matchup of the game.
Cole Aldrich is listed at 6'11" and 245 lbs. He has the size and length to rebound and block shots effectively. He lets the game come to him by playing within the offensive sets that Kansas runs. Aldrich has been compared to Kevin McHale.
Blake Griffin is listed at 6'10" and 251 lbs. Griffin looks like a stocky football player on the court. He is a rebounding machine and has a nice post game to go with his ability to clean up the glass. Griffin can jump out of the gym for a big man and has the warrior mentality.
Griffin would have the strength advantage to back down Aldrich and counter his defensive positioning with his patented post moves. Griffin would have put Aldrich in foul trouble and made him sit on the bench. Griffin would have taken advantage of him sitting down and dominated Kansas. Griffin gets 20 and 10 easily as Oklahoma would have been in the driver's seat for the Big 12 regular season title.
When Blake Griffin is on the floor, the Oklahoma offense does not skip a beat. The offense completely goes through Griffin. When he is injured and not playing, 50 percent of their offense and 25 percent of their rebounding is gone from the lineup. As a result, they have a hard time running their offense.
Oklahoma beats Kansas by 10 with Griffin in the lineup.
Another thing that is funny to me is, how does Bill Self have the power to avoid coaching and game-planning against the Oklahoma Sooners with Blake Griffin on the floor?
Last season, Griffin only played five minutes against Kansas in Lawrence before suffering an injury. Kansas was able to take advantage of the injury and blew out Oklahoma 85-55.
Myself and many college basketball fans would love to see a rematch between Kansas and Oklahoma in the Big 12 Tournament. A rematch will prove that Kansas was not worthy of the regular season crown this season.
However, there might be a slim chance of that happening. It depends on where these two along with Missouri will be seeded in the Big 12 Tournament.
Kansas fans, just know that you guys got lucky this season.