Revenge is on the mind of #23 when Kansas travels to Stillwater
By Andrew Curtis
You don’t see it very often in college basketball. Two freshmen are the leading candidates for conference player of the year, with an outside shot at being first-team All-Americans.
Kansas’ Ben McLemore has been Mr. Consistent the entire season, only failing to reach double figures in two games. He and the Jayhawks are set to take their talents south to Stillwater to get revenge against Oklahoma State.
Oklahoma State’s stud freshman, Marcus Smart, has been sensational of late. The Cowboys are one of the hottest teams in America, and Smart is the main reason why. He is so valuable to their team and does everything well.
The last time the two matched up against one another, the favored team at home left with a bad taste in their mouth. Oklahoma State came into Allen Fieldhouse behind the hot shooting from Smart and Markel Brown and ended what seemed to be an invincible 33-game home winning streak for Kansas
One of the best things about sports is getting a chance to redeem yourself, and Kansas has a great chance to do that Wednesday night at Gallagher-Iba Arena. A top 15 tilt awaits the nation in a crucial battle for Big 12 supremacy.
Kansas, looking for its 9th straight Big 12 regular season title, seems to have its swagger back after back-to-back blowout wins in Lawrence over Kansas State and Texas after a shocking three-game losing streak.
In order to protect that streak and keep it going, Kansas must win on Wednesday night. Bill Self’s teams at KU have traditionally played better in big games like this, so the stage is set. I think Kansas is going to make a statement on the road against Self’s alma mater , and it starts with the kid who has his own dance.
Ben McLemore is about to have one of those games where he is feeling it and has a good night shooting the basketball. The big stage is what McLemore was born for, and I’m sure he would love nothing more than to outlast his freshman counterpart from the other side.
I’m fairly positive that every Kansas fans would agree with me on this, but McLemore needs to stop being so unselfish and shoot the ball more. To me, if he gets 15 to 20 shots per game, he will be a lock for 25 or 30 points and Kansas will be hard to beat.
We saw a glimpse of this earlier this season against Iowa State, when he scored 33 points, going 6 for 6 from three-point range and nailing a shot from beyond the arc at the very end of regulation to send it to overtime.
More recently, we saw McLemore explode on his 20th birthday last week against Kansas State, when he scored an easy 30 points on just 12 shots.
There is nobody in the country that can guard McLemore, and he just gives off that vibe that he can go off at any moment in any game, anywhere.
In order for McLemore to have a standout game and lead Kansas to a much-needed win on Wedneday, he needs help from his teammates.
Travis Releford must penetrate the lane and dish to McLemore on the wing.
Elijah Johnson must carry over his performance from Saturday night against Texas.
Kevin Young needs to be aggressive.
Finally, Jeff Withey needs to continue to be a dominant defensive force by blocking shots, leading to easy transition dunks by McLemore.
Everything seems to be coming together for Kansas, and McLemore looks poised to lead them to victory every time out. It’s crucial that he does just that on Wednesday night.