Kansas-Texas A&M Preview
Kansas seems all but assured of matching its longest streak of
consecutive regular-season conference titles.
A win over one of its nearest Big 12 pursuers would bring that
sixth straight championship a little closer to certainty.
The top-ranked Jayhawks will try to take another step Monday
night by maintaining their perfect mark at Texas A&M.
With six games remaining, Kansas (24-1, 10-0) holds a three-game
lead over the Aggies (18-6, 7-3) and Kansas State. The Jayhawks are
chasing a mark from their days under legendary coach Phog Allen,
who won or shared six consecutive Missouri Valley titles from
Winners of 10 straight, Kansas is also trying to join its
2001-02 squad as the only teams to finish unbeaten in Big 12 play
and record its best regular-season finish since going 29-1 in
Continuing its impressive defensive efforts would aid the
Jayhawks’ pursuit of those milestones. They lead the nation in
opponents’ shooting percentage (36.5 percent) and are giving up
62.8 points per game.
They used that defense to overcome their own shooting
difficulties Saturday night for a 73-59 victory of visiting Iowa
In Bill Self’s 400th victory, Kansas held the Cyclones scoreless
for 4:18 in the second half and turned a two-point lead into a
16-point advantage. The Jayhawks, though, shot 42.4 percent in the
win and 40 percent in an 80-68 victory at Texas on Feb. 8 – far
below their season average of 48.6 percent.
A similar performance could cost them against Texas A&M,
which is attempting to earn a season-high fifth straight win and
seventh in eight games.
In Saturday’s 67-65 victory at Texas Tech, the Aggies took the
lead for good on a 14-4 run in the second half and held on with
four free throws from Donald Sloan and Bryan Davis.
“If they win out and knock us out, they’ll put themselves in
great position to maybe play for the league championship,” Self
said of the Aggies. “I think our guys will be focused going down to
Texas A&M also owns a 16-game home win streak, but the
Aggies haven’t beaten the Jayhawks in six all-time matchups there.
Kansas has won 14 of 15 overall meetings, including a 73-53 blowout
In that home win, the Jayhawks held the Aggies to their lowest
output of the season on 32.7 percent shooting. No Texas A&M
player scored in double figures, and Sloan, currently fourth in the
Big 12 with 18.3 points per game, was limited to six.
Sloan has averaged 6.3 points in four career matchups against
Aggies coach Mark Turgeon, a former Jayhawks captain and
assistant coach, will have a difficult task in containing a deep
and talented squad.
Kansas boasts preseason All-Americans Sherron Collins and Cole
Aldrich, but sophomore forward Marcus Morris has averaged a
team-best 17.1 points in conference play. He’s scored in double
figures in each of those games and has double-doubles in three of
the past five.
Freshman Xavier Henry has also emerged from a slump with 31
combined points in his last two games. The highly touted guard,
scoring 13.2 points per game, had averaged 6.2 points on 30.6
percent shooting in his previous five contests.
Henry will try to help Kansas to its sixth consecutive road
victory and 23rd in a row over an unranked opponent.
The Aggies, 3-4 this season against Top 25 squads, are 0-4
all-time versus No. 1 teams. However, they lost 72-67 in overtime
to previously top-ranked Texas on Jan. 16.