At second place in the Big 12 standings and No. 1 in KenPom.com’s adjusted efficiency metric, the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks are playing at a high level as head coach Bill Self’s team prepares to host the Texas Longhorns on Monday night at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence.
Kansas hasn’t lost since a 66-57 win over Texas on Jan. 18 that was closer than the final score indicated. At halftime, the Horns held a five-point lead, but Jayhawks center Udoka Azubuike keyed a run early in the second half and a big three-pointer by guard Devon Dotson helped put the game away late. Dotson scored 21 points and Azubuike added 16 in Austin to derail the best chance Texas had to pick up a resume-boosting win this season. Kansas is 24-1 when Azubuike scores 15 or more points.
With a 10-1 record at home this season, the Jayhawks are especially difficult to beat at Allen Fieldhouse. In fact, the Longhorns have only won there once since it opened. Shaka Smart is 1-9 against Kansas as the Texas head coach.
As a result, KenPom.com slots the Jayhawks as heavy favorites for Monday’s game with a 93-percent win probability and a 73-56 projected margin that would represent the sixth double-digit loss this season for the Longhorns.
So winning for a second time at Allen Fieldhouse will present a significant challenge to a Texas team that will once again be without sophomore forwards Kamaka Hepa (ankle) and Gerald Liddell (back). For that to happen, the Horns will need to continue their torrid shooting from distance — Texas has hit 48.6 percent from beyond the arc over the last two games.
And junior forward Jericho Sims, the only player on the roster who can credibly defend Azubuike, will need to stay out of foul trouble. The Texas guards also need to keep Sims involved in the game, as he set his career high with 20 points in the first game against Kansas this season and took 14 shots, also a career high.
The game tips off at 8 p.m. Central on ESPN.