Kansas' extended streak of dominance inside the Big 12 came to an end last season, and its last game may have been an early sign that a return to the top of the conference may be delayed another season. The seventh-ranked Jayhawks attempt to bounce back from a rare home loss Tuesday when they return to Oklahoma for the first time since their 14-year streak of regular-season conference titles was officially snapped late last spring.
Oklahoma never trailed after racing out to an early 16-point advantage and was never threatened thereafter en route to an 81-68 victory on March 5 in the penultimate game of the regular season for both squads, marking the first time Kansas did not win at least a share of the conference title since 2003-04. The Jayhawks took another punch to the gut in Saturday's 67-55 loss at home to No. 2 Baylor in an early showdown of the Big 12's highest-ranked teams, allowing the Bears to get their first-ever win in Allen Fieldhouse in 18 tries. "We were without question the second-best team on the court today. (Baylor) controlled the game. ... The difference in the game ... we turned it over (14 times) and they would score 21 points off our turnovers and they turned it over (five times) and we score two points," coach Bill Self said. The Sooners fell short in their bid to start 3-0 in conference play for the first time since 2013 on Saturday, dropping an 81-68 decision at Iowa State.
TIME: 9 p.m. ET. TV: ESPN
ABOUT KANSAS (12-3, 2-1 Big 12): Another key factor in the Jayhawks' loss Saturday was the extended absence of the conference's leading scorer in Devon Dotson (18.0 points, 4.4 assists, 2.3 steals), who missed a significant portion of the second half after suffering a hip pointer before intermission. "He's going to be sore. ... He was hurting out there and there's no question about that. (Fellow starting guard Marcus Garrett) hurt his ankle, so he wasn't 100 percent. You need to have one of them in the game," Self said. Udoka Azubuike (12.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.3 blocks) was limited to six points against Baylor but was still dominant in other areas, grabbing at least 11 rebounds for the fifth time in seven games while rejecting a career-high seven shots.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA (11-4, 2-1): Junior forward Brady Manek (14.6 points, 6.1 rebounds) finished 5-of-6 beyond the arc to pace the Sooners with 17 points in Saturday's loss and has shot 53.8 percent beyond the arc while averaging 17.5 points and six boards in two career home games versus the Jayhawks. Senior forward Khristian Doolittle, who had 24 points and 11 rebounds in last spring's victory over Kansas, ranks third in the conference in scoring (17.1 points) and sixth in rebounding (8.7) despite managing 14 points and five boards versus the Cyclones. Austin Reaves (15.9 points, 5.5 rebounds) has been unable to shake his season-long slump from 3-point range (26.8 percent), but the Big 12's ninth-leading scorer is shooting 48.6 percent from the field over his last four outings (39 percent previously).
1. Since the start of the 2017-18 season, Kansas has won at least one game in every Big 12 venue except the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman.
2. Oklahoma's 13-point win last spring against Kansas was its first double-digit victory in the series since 1990.
3. Azubuike's seven blocks Saturday were the most by a Jayhawk since Joel Embiid had eight against Oklahoma State on Jan. 18, 2014.
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