There are stretches in everybody’s Big 12 schedule that are easier than others — but there are no easy stretches. Tough home games are often followed by super-tough road games, and the past three days for Kansas illustrate this well.
On Saturday, the Jayhawks upset a Houston team that remains atop the NET rankings by shooting 68.9% from the field en route to a 78-65 victory inside Allen Fieldhouse. Then, barely 48 hours later, KU was tasked with traveling 87 miles west to Bramlage Coliseum, where it spent Monday night playing its in-state rival in a hostile environment.
It did not go well.
Final score: Kansas State 75, Kansas 70 in OT.
Two days after shooting nearly 70% from the field against the nation’s top-ranked defense, the Jayhawksagainst a KSU team that entered on a four-game losing streak. It makes no sense except for how it makes perfect sense if you follow the Big 12 closely. The league was always likely to unfold this way considering 10 of the conference’s 14 members are ranked in the top 40 of the NET, and considering the average NET ranking of the 14 members is 45.57.
That’s 17.07 points better than any other league.
“I thought they were the more athletic and explosive team,” said Kansas coach Bill Self. “I thought we showed stretches where we were as well — but the bottom line is it comes down to making free throws.”
It was hard not to notice that in a 45-minute game decided by five points, Kansas State combined to outscore the Jayhawks 45 to 20 from the free throw line and 3-point line. Johnny Furphy, the 6-foot-9 freshmen who changed the dynamic of KU’s team when he was inserted into the starting lineup roughly three weeks ago, was 0 of 4 from 3-point range and 0 of 0 from the free-throw line in the loss.
Kansas is No. 8 in Tuesday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings, where Purdue remains No. 1 for the 26th consecutive day. The Jayhawks are 8-4 in the first two quadrants with five Q1 wins and one additional loss (at West Virginia) falling in Q3. That makes Kansas and Arizona the only teams in the top 10 of the Top 25 And 1 with a Q3 loss on the resume.