Published February 01, 2014
Austin, TX – Austin, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - The sixth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks will put their flawless Big 12 record on the line on Saturday afternoon, when they invade the Frank Erwin Center to take on the equally hot 25th-ranked Texas Longhorns in a key conference clash.
Bill Self's Jayhawks bring a seven-game win streak into this contest, all in league play. Kansas has peaked at the right time, posting four straight wins over ranked opponents during the streak. The team won an offensive shootout with another ranked foe, Iowa State, this week in Lawrence, 92-81, to remain unbeaten in the Big 12.
Rick Barnes' Longhorns are in a position to match Kansas' feat, as they have knocked off three straight ranked foes to get to 16-4 overall and 5-2 in- conference. Texas has won five straight games overall, including blasting Baylor in Waco last weekend, 74-60.
Kansas holds a 22-7 advantage in the all-time series with Texas, with a 6-5 edge in games played in Austin.
Freshman Andrew Wiggins set a career-high in the win over TCU last weekend and eclipsed that with a new high against Iowa State, as the talented youngster was 10-of-16 shooting from the floor to finish with 29 points. The team's other four starters joined Wiggins in double figures as well. Sophomore Perry Ellis poured in 20 points, freshman Joel Embiid recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while junior Naadir Tharpe and freshman Wayne Selden Jr. tacked on 12 and 11 points, respectively.
As shown in the win over the Cyclones, containing Kansas isn't easy. The Jayhawks are among the nation's most efficient squads at the offensive end, shooting a cool .510 from the floor, en route to 80.2 ppg. The team has also done a great job on the boards, outrebounding foes by 7.4 caroms per game. Wiggins has upped his scoring average to a team-best 16.5 ppg, while grabbing an impressive 6.1 rpg. Ellis (13.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and Embiid (11.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 54 blocks) are a strong frontcourt duo. Selden (10.0 ppg) and Tharpe (9.2 ppg, 5.4 apg) round out a productive starting five.
Improved defensive play has been a key to Texas's recent success. The Longhorns were at it again against Baylor last weekend, limiting the Bears to just 60 points on a mere .321 shooting performance. Freshman Isaiah Taylor had a game to remember, as he went 10-of-18 from the floor and 7-of-8 from the free-throw line to post a career-high 27 points. Junior Jonathan Holmes had a strong game as well, finishing with 14 points and eight rebounds, while sophomore Cameron Ridley added eight points to go with a game-high 14 boards.
The Longhorns will need to continue to play tight defense to negate Kansas' explosiveness in this one. Texas is holding foes to 70.6 ppg on the year, on just under 40 percent shooting (.396). The team also enjoys a +6.8 rebounding margin. Four of the team's five starters are averaging double figures in scoring, led by Holmes' 12.9 ppg. Javan Felix is a close second with 12.2 ppg, followed by Taylor and Ridley, with 11.7 and 11.2 ppg, respectively.