More than once during last night's broadcast ESPN's Dick Vitale made the statement that the Big 12 title still runs through Kansas. In what turned into a two hour commercial for all things Kansas basketball, the broadcast team gushed over the environment at Allen Fieldhouse, the success of Bill Self and this years team which made a statement in last night's monster win over Baylor.
For Kansas the win was probably expected. After all the Jayhawks were favored heading into this no. 3 vs no. 7 matchup. But what made this impressive was the manner in which Kansas dismantled a Baylor team that sat undefeated and was viewed by many as a Big 12 frontrunner.
The game answered questions about the Kansas rotation and perceived lack of depth. The win provided a launching pad for the increasingly confident Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson. All said and done it's pretty clear that while Kansas lost a lot from last year's Big 12 championship team, they still have a lot of talent and Bill Self is still on the sideline.
For Baylor's part they obviously get a second chance. Winning in Allen Fieldhouse is a tall order and Kansas returns the favor later this year with a trip to Waco. That game will almost without question have a very different look and feel to it than this one.
That of course brings about a major point here, this was just one game and it was a Kansas home game. Bill Self and Kansas have been virtually unbeatable in Lawrence during his time. Games like last night's win over Baylor provide the Jayhawks with an advantage, but it will be what they can accomplish on the road that might ultimately turn this season into an eighth straight title run.
Games at Baylor, at Missouri, at Kansas State and at Iowa State all still remain. One might even circle this Saturday's contest in Austin as a potential let down moment for a Jayhawk team that came out firing on all cylinders in this one. Every one of the above mentioned games has a chance to spell a loss for Kansas. This is where the full round robin of the Big 12 comes into play and makes things very interesting.
For now though, Kansas sits on top of the Big 12 standings. The Jayhawks were as impressive as they have been all year and it's pretty clear that a challenging non-conference schedule has served it's purpose. Tyshawn Taylor, Thomas Robinson, Jeff Withey, Travis Releford and Elijah Johnson are not going to be intimidated and while they might not have faced the same expectations coming into the season compared to past teams, they certainly don't seem ready and willing to cede that point.