9:00 PM ET, February 15, 2010
Reed Arena, College Station, Texas
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, which joined the AP poll this week at No. 24.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 1921-27.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 1996-97.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 State.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. The hot streak has put the Aggies back in the rankings after spending four weeks there earlier this season.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 College Station."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 last season.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 Kansas.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.
|Avg Points Allowed||63.8||64.9|