It's tempting to question our previous evaluations of who's atop college basketball's food chain after watching top-ranked Kansas fall at Oklahoma State just hours after Tennessee toppled second-ranked Kentucky.
Don't be fooled.
Yes, Kansas showed it's not invincible in a listless 85-77 loss in Stillwater this afternoon, but the Jayhawks are still the king of this jungle entering March. This wasn't about Oklahoma State exposing cracks in Kansas' foundation – it was about a hungrier Cowboys team wanting it more.
Whereas the Jayhawks had little to gain from this game aside from their pursuit of an undefeated Big 12 record, the victory was a season-maker for a Cowboys team that was still looking for a marquee win to lock up an at-large bid. Oklahoma State improved to 20-8 overall and 8-6 in the rugged Big 12, solidly in the field of 65 were the season to end today.
The malaise showed most for Kansas on the defense, where the Jayhawks surrendered 60.4 percent shooting and looked a step slow at almost every spot on the floor. James Anderson continued to make a case to usurp Sherron Collins in the Big 12 player of the year voting, scoring 27 points including 15 in the first half with Xavier Henry struggling to get through screens to get a hand in his face.
The good news for Kansas is that Henry continued his scoring surge with 17 points and Collins showed signs of busting out of an 18-for-59 shooting slump the past few weeks. The senior point guard posted a team-high 22 points on 7 of 16 from the field, though his six turnovers were a few too many.
If anything, this loss could be a good teaching tool for Bill Self to refocus his troops heading into rivalry games against Missouri and Kansas State. Kansas probably wasn't going to go through the season with only one loss, so better to get the second one out of the way now rather than in March.
- the Jayhawks