Kansas-Texas Preview

After struggling early against some of the country's top teams, Kansas has shown that it can handle elite competition.

Texas can't say the same after another loss to a Top 25 opponent left it winless against ranked teams.

The No. 7 Jayhawks look to build on their latest convincing victory over a top 10 squad and win their ninth straight win overall when they visit the Longhorns on Saturday.

Kansas (15-3, 5-0 Big 12) lost two of its first five games, beating up on unranked teams but faltering against then-No. 2 Kentucky and then-No. 6 Duke.

The Jayhawks, though, haven't had any trouble with the country's best lately. They've won all three games against Top 25 teams since the Duke loss, including a 78-67 victory over then-No. 2 Ohio State on Dec. 10 and a 92-74 rout of No. 3 Baylor on Monday.

"I think we made a big statement tonight," senior guard Tyshawn Taylor, who matched his career high of 28 points set two days earlier against Iowa State, said after the latest game. "I told my team with like, 11 minutes left, that we have to make a statement. I don't know if people are sleeping on us - they know we're good - but I don't know if people knew what we could do."

The Jayhawks have won 13 straight conference games including the 2011 Big 12 tournament, during which they beat the Longhorns 85-73 in the title game March 12. They're in position to open 6-0 in Big 12 play for the third time in four seasons, but Kansas coach Bill Self doesn't want his team getting complacent.

"We're one of the best teams (in the Big 12), but we're five games in," said Self, 8-7 in his career against Texas.

The Jayhawks likely have the Longhorns' attention, having won four of five in the series with each victory coming by at least 10 points. Texas snapped Kansas' 69-game home winning streak last season, but the Jayhawks won 80-68 in their last trip to Austin on Feb. 8, 2010.

Texas finished last season ranked No. 8, but the Longhorns (12-6, 2-3) aren't in the poll in part because of their struggles against Top 25 teams. They're 0-3 against ranked opponents, including back-to-back losses at then-No. 9 Missouri last Saturday and No. 25 Kansas State on Wednesday. Texas' rally fell short in the 84-80 loss to the Wildcats.

Texas star J'Covan Brown, leading the Big 12 with 19.2 points per game, scored 22 but went 8 for 28 from the field as the Kansas State defense swarmed him whenever he got the ball.

"I think this is a whole new experience for J'Covan," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "He's got a big bull's-eye on his back, whoever plays us."

Brown has averaged 22.7 points and shot 48.8 percent from the field in three career games against Kansas, all off the bench. A career 34.8 percent 3-point shooter, he's 9 for 17 from behind the arc against the Jayhawks.

That success hasn't escaped Self, who knows stopping Brown is key to the Jayhawks' defensive strategy.

"Well if he was playing Kansas every game, he'd be national player of the year the last two years - he's killed us," Self said. "We've got to do a good job with him."

What to Read Next