With giant wins over Iowa State and Oklahoma State last week, Kansas has now beaten four nationally ranked teams to begin its 2013-14 conference schedule in defense of its nine consecutive Big 12 championships. How many times does a team begin its conference schedule having to play back-to-back-to-back-to back games against a team ranked among the nation’s top 25?
And the way the Jayhawks are playing right now, I don’t think they would mind going up against any team in the country – ranked or unranked.
On Saturday against No. 9 Oklahoma State, it didn’t seem to matter who was on the court for the Jayhawks. Everyone who stepped on the hardwood for Kansas on Saturday – and there were 10 of them – made a positive contribution of some kind. That’s when you know you’ve got things going your way – when your best players can have an off game and, because of a deep and talented bench, you can still beat a top-10 ranked team.
That’s what the Jayhawks had going this weekend and, because of it, Kansas swept the Player of the Week honors in the Big 12 for last week. Junior point guard Naadir Thorpe averages 22 points, five assists and four rebounds in two games last week and made 82 percent of his field-goal tries. That earned him Player of the Week honors in the Big 12. His Jayhawk teammate, Joel Embiid, was named Newcomer of the Week in the conference. Embiid averaged a double-double (14.5 points and 10 rebounds per game) in wins over Iowa State and Oklahoma State.
It was the second time this season that Embiid has been Newcomer of the Week. Three other Kansas players (Tarik Black and Wayne Seldon and Andrew Wiggins) have also earned the honor this season. KU Sophomore forward Perry Ellis was named Player of the Week earlier in the season.