Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
November tournaments created a fair number of losses for Top 25 teams. That's simply the nature of the beast.
However, there might not be any teams that lost as much luster as Kansas and Oklahoma State.
One day before Thanksgiving, the Jayhawks and Cowboys were on top of the world. Rock Chalk was 4-0 with a win over Duke and coming off a 30-point win over a Towson team that is going to strongly compete with Drexel for the CAA crown. OK State followed up a 21-point win over Memphis with a 26-point road win over South Florida.
Aside from Michigan State, they were the only two teams to receive first-place votes in the November 25 AP Poll, and deservedly so.
But then the Battle 4 Atlantis and Old Spice Classic happened, and neither school even looks like the favorite to win the Big 12 anymore.
Kansas raised some eyebrows on Thanksgiving night by struggling to put away Wake Forest, but it was at least possible to overlook that one by asking whether the Demon Deacons might actually be better than we thought. But then Kansas lost to Villanova, and darn near lost to UTEP despite jumping out to a 15-2 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game.
Previously considered the second-best team in the country, Kansas was fighting for its life on three consecutive nights against unranked opponents.
Let the record show that Kansas' next 11 games (at Colorado, at Florida, vs. New Mexico, vs. Georgetown, vs. Toledo, vs. San Diego State, at Oklahoma, vs. Kansas State, at Iowa State, vs. Oklahoma State, vs. Baylor) might be the most consistently difficult stretch of games that any team will face this season. If the Jayhawks don't fix what went wrong in the Bahamas, things could get ugly in a hurry.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys opened their tournament by allowing Purdue to claw back into what should have been a blowout with 58 second-half points.
The following night, Butler had approximately 28 chances to win the game in the final two minutes, but failed to win the game despite discovering the blueprint to beating the Cowboys—clog the lane on defense to keep Marcus Smart from getting to the rim and force them to beat you on the perimeter.
Memphis followed Butler's blueprint and left us with serious doubts about a team that seemed nearly unbeatable just a few days prior.