Friday, March 12, 2010
Kansas outlasts ornery A&M
By Andy Katz
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas has one more game left before it can probably rid itself of Big 12 opponent intensity until possibly the Elite Eight.
The Jayhawks have dominated the Big 12 this season, losing only once. So it was natural for Texas A&M to be a bit tired of the love fest for the Jayhawks in conference. It didn’t help that the Jayhawks were playing in Phog Allen Fieldhouse East here at the Sprint Center. The Aggies held the lead for nearly 30 minutes before Kansas flipped a switch and re-asserted itself as the favorite -- not just in this league, but arguably in the country -- with a 79-66 victory.
The Aggies, playing without injured Dash Harris (bone bruise in his hand), had been the aggressor for most of the night, especially Donald Sloan and B.J. Holmes. But when Kansas went with a zone, the Aggies couldn’t make shots. The run outs for Kansas were ideal for Sherron Collins and set up some 3s for Xavier Henry. The Morris twins had their moments, Marcus and Markieff, especially the latter when he got into it with Bryan Davis for a double technical. That sent Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon into a frenzy, challenging the officials to look at Collins, too. You could tell the two teams were tired of playing against each other, even though they only played one time this season.
The Aggies should get a high enough seed to avoid a team like Kansas in the NCAAs. Texas A&M has faced a No. 1 seed in the second round as a result of winning the eight-nine game two years in a row. If Harris is healthy enough to play next week then the Aggies should be good to go.
Kansas, meanwhile, still has some swagger to deal with: either Kansas State (the Big 12 dream scenario) or Baylor in the title game Saturday night. To win the regular-season and conference title game is quite an accomplishment regardless of the level of the league. It proves the players are mentally tougher than most.