Three Thoughts on Texas’ 75-59 Victory over Kansas in Top 10 Matchup
A Saturday afternoon matchup between the third-ranked Kansas Jayhawks and ninth-ranked Texas Longhorns didn’t have Big 12 Championship implications and wasn’t for a title, like many had anticipated in recent days. However, it still offered a Top 10 matchup and pitted a pair of teams with Final Four aspirations against each other. The Longhorns got the better of the Jayhawks in it with a 75-59 victory at the Moody Center.
Stifling ‘Horns defense
Kansas entered just outside the Top 20 in adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom. Texas entered at No. 25 in adjusted defensive efficiency, per his metrics. The latter won out by a large margin. The hosts held the ‘Hawks to 36.2% shooting from the floor. That included a lesser 31.2% from 3-point range. The Longhorns blocked five shots. They limited the visitors to 10 assists, compared to 11 turnovers. Everything was simply incredibly difficult for Kansas, and that manifested itself in the lopsided result.
This is not something you see every day, but if not for the opening basket of the contest, Kansas wouldn’t have led at all in this one. Following the early 2-0 deficit, Texas surged on a 9-0 run. It never trailed again. In fact, by halftime it was already leading 32-24 after getting up by as much as 12 in the opening 20 minutes. It distanced from there and eventually held a double-digit advantage for the final 6:19, leading by as much as 16 down the stretch. With all that, guards Sir’Jabari Rice and Tyrese Hunter poured in very productive scoring outings of 23 and 20 points, respectively.
Midwest Region slot in jeopardy?
This week, the Jayhawks slid into the Kansas City bracket in ESPN expert Joe Lunardi’s latest projection. Some were even calling them the No. 1 overall seed after having sewn up the Big 12 Conference race entering the final game of the regular season. But they were unable to add a cherry on top of that, perhaps, because of this setback. Another Top 10 win, which would have served as Kansas’ 16th of the Quadrant I variety, probably would have ended all discussion and any arguments a team like Houston might have had. Speaking of Houston, it flipped to the West Region and Las Vegas with Lunardi’s maneuver earlier in the week. But the chance is now there again, one would surmise, for the Cougars to stay at least a little bit closer to home.