PREVIEW: Kansas looks to clinch outright Big 12 title vs. Texas

After securing a share of a 14th straight Big 12 regular season conference title, the Kansas Jayhawks (23-6, 12-4) look to clinch that title outright on senior night against the Texas Longhorns (17-12, 7-9).

This will be senior guards Clay Young, Devonte’ Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk’s final game at Allen Fieldhouse and their swan song at home has all the makings of a proper sendoff. The Jayhawks have all the momentum and ultimately no pressure.

Kansas is projected to be a No. 1 seed once again according to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi and have already clinched another conference title. The team has won four straight games, including tough games against West Virginia at home and Texas Tech on the road this past Saturday.

Looking to this matchup on Monday night, the Jayhawks are the superior team, as Texas is wildly inconsistent as of late.

The Jayhawks score 82.1 points per game and shoot 49% from the field, as opposed to 71.5 PPG and 43.6% for the Longhorns. Texas has also lost four of their last six games and are on the bubble of the NCAA tournament, clawing for a resume building win.

The Longhorns’ leading two scorers, not including sophomore guard Andrew Jones who has been sidelined due to leukemia, are junior forward Dylan Osetkowski (13.7 PPG) and freshman forward Mohamed Bamba (13 PPG). Those aren’t isane numbers by any means, albeit with Bamba averaging 10.6 rebounds per game and Osetkowski averaging 7.2 RPG.

This team simply doesn’t have an offensive identity at the moment, hence their recent struggles, which are coming at the wrong time of the year heading into March.

On the Kansas side, Graham has asserted himself as the clear front-runner for Big 12 player of the year, partly due to Oklahoma freshman guard Trae Young’s recent struggles. Graham averages 17.9 PPG and 7.1 APG, on pace to become the first Kansas guard in school history to average 17+ PPG and 7+ APG.

The other guards have stepped up their games with Mykhailiuk shooting 44% from three-point range and junior Lagerald Vick and redshirt sophomore guard Malik Newman pouring in 12 points a game in supporting roles.

The Jayhawks are also finding a comfortable rotation down low with forwards Udoka Azuibke, Silvio De Sousa and Mitch Lightfoot, giving them an added physicality.

Plainly put, this Kansas team is just on a roll. There isn’t really much of a reason to think that Senior Night will be anything but special for the Jayhawks. This game could easily be a blowout before the Longhorns realize it, as they are severly outmatched in every facet.

Kansas will roll over Texas easily as they are focused, hungry and have superior talent.

My prediction:

89-69, Kansas over Texas

This should be a fun sendoff for the Jayhawks’ seniors and I fully expect Graham to have another spectacular game enroute to an outright league title.

Catch this Big 12 conference game on KJHK 90.7 FM. Pregame coverage starts at 7 pm, with tip-off set for 8 pm.

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