Two weeks ago the Jayhawks held a two game lead in the conference and everything was looking rosy. Then Kansas went to Ames Iowa and dropped a game to Fred Hoiberg's Cyclones and everything shifted. With the Jayhawks then heading to Columbia for a game that many had labeled a loss, that two game cushion had quickly faded. Now the Jayhawks face perhaps the toughest road to the league title and it continues tomorrow night with a road trip to Waco where they will face Baylor.
For Kansas to win the league outright it's looking more and more like they will need to run the table through the final seven games. That includes road trips to Baylor, Manhattan, College Station and Stillwater. Missouri on the other hand has a tough road trip to Lawrence and then two very manageable games at A&M and in Lubbock against Tech.
The concern from a Jayhawk perspective is that Missouri has already faced the toughest portion of their schedule and they did that early in conference play. They did that without a target on their back and they managed it fairly successfully with some good fortune in a few close games as well.
Kansas on the other hand ALWAYS has that target on their back. You won't find empty seats all that often when Kansas goes on the road the same way that Missouri played to a half empty arena in Stillwater and then last night in Norman. Kansas has won seven straight and right now everyone wants to take them down and that's what Kansas is fighting against.
It's that challenge that makes Wednesday night's game against Baylor all the more important. If Kansas drops the game in Waco then they absolutely must win in Manhattan, beat Missouri in Lawrence, get help from elsewhere and avoid any late season stumble. If Kansas wins in Waco, they have just the tiniest bit of breathing room when it comes to sharing the title but the Jayhawks are still most likely looking at a run the table scenario if they want to control the conference outright.
It should be an interesting stretch run because even Baylor still factors into the equation with their only two losses coming to the two teams they are competing with for the title. Of course Baylor needs a win against Kansas and then a win on the road against Missouri to really put themselves in a solid position and that is no easy task.
It's the first year of the full round robin and while the league isn't as strong top to bottom it does have three pretty strong teams battling for the top spot. With a few weeks remaining a lot can change but the picture is becoming more clear every day and Kansas at Baylor is a huge piece to helping fill in the puzzle.